Bit of a wheeze

The news that asthma may have been over-diagnosed and asthma medication correspondingly over prescribed in New Zealand should come as no surprise.

What is surprising is that the conditioned response to asthma like symptoms (mild-to-moderate asthma symptoms are, in fact similar to those of a cold) has been to dispense medicine and dispense with the possibility that more benign and less costly therapies might be more useful – at least as the first line of care.

Many people with respiratory conditions-including asthma have found that breath management techniques such as Buteyko can dramatically reduce the need for inhaler medicines (both preventers and relievers) but this option is all too rarely explored.

There is an anaemic culture in contemporary medicine that is driven by factors like the demand for immediate gratification by the patient (‘fix me now’), pressure on general practitioners to satisfy patients as ‘clients’ and pharmaceutical companies whose concern for the bottom line and market share creates the distraction that one medicine is better than another – rather than asking whether a costly, inconvenient and possibly dangerous medicine is necessary at all?

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