Work-Related Asthma: Recognition and Diagnosis Originally presented on June 19, 2014

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John May, MD
Director of the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, Director of the Northeast Center for Agricultural and Occupation Health & Director of Bassett Research

Asthma is work-related when it is induced or triggered by exposure to allergens or irritants on the job. These exposures can lead to new cases of asthma or worsen existing asthma. Data from the New York State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Asthma Call-Back Survey show that 45% of working adults with asthma have something in their work environments causing or exacerbating their asthma, but only 12% have had their health care provider tell them that their asthma was associated with work. 

Health care providers often fail to ask about workplace triggers when diagnosing and managing patients with asthma. Considering the possibility of workplace exposures when presented with an adult patient with either adult-onset asthma or worsening of current asthma is essential when making a diagnosis.  It is important to distinguish between non-WRA and WRA, since the latter is a potentially preventable and reversible disease. While WRA can be prevented, successful efforts depend on there being sufficient information to identify unhealthy workplaces and at-risk workers.  

Surveillance of WRA plays an important role in providing this needed information. In New York State, this surveillance is conducted through the NYS Department of Health Occupational Lung Disease Registry.  Program staff educate employees about potential triggers and appropriate work practices and protection.  They can also work with employers to assist them in identifying and preventing workplace exposures. However, for these efforts to be successful, physicians must comply with laws mandating the reporting of occupational lung disease and report patients with WRA.

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Program Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe symptom patterns suggestive of work-related asthma
  • Identify the appropriate diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of asthma and its relationship to work
  • List common triggers associated with work-related asthma

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The planners, moderator, and presenters do not have any financial arrangements or affiliations with any commercial entities whose products, research or services may be discussed in this activity.

No commercial funding has been accepted for this activity.

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The School of Public Health, University at Albany is accredited by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The School of Public Health, University at Albany designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Continuing Medical Education Credits are offered until June 30, 2017.

Continuing Nurse Education Contact Hours

The University at Albany School of Public Health is an Approved Provider of continuing nurse education by the Northeast Multi-State Division, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This offering is approved for 1 nursing contact hour(s).

Nursing Contact Hours are offered until June 30, 2017.

Certified Health Education Specialist Contact Hours

Sponsored by the School of Public Health, University and Albany, SUNY, a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 1.0 total Category I contact education contact hours. Maximum advanced-level continuing education contact hours available are 0.

Continuing Education Contact Hours are offered until June 30, 2017. 

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