NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New research indicates a large number of asthma patients have been misdiagnosed.
As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, recent studies show that while 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with the disease, a starling number don’t actually have asthma.
Asthma is a potentially life-threatening disease that can cause wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. But about 25 to 30 percent of patients are misdiagnosed, according to recent studies.
“One out of every 3 patients that comes to me with diagnosis of asthma ends up not having asthma,” asthma specialist Dr. Sally Wenzel said.
When Deb Bushe went to Dr. Wenzel for help with her asthma, she learned she who had been wrongly diagnosed.
“I was very surprised when I was told I didn’t have asthma,” said Bushe.
After 15 years of treating what she thought was asthma, Bushe said she wasted hundreds of dollars on medications and she quit using her inhaler.
“When I stopped that, I got much better,” she said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma costs the country $50 billion a year in medical expenses.
One out of 12 people is diagnosed with asthma, and that number is growing each year, Gomez reported.
Experts say asthma is often wrongly used to describe a wide variety of breathing disorders, such as chronic coughing and shortness of breath that can actually be signs of heart failure.
Stomach acid reflux is another common problem misdiagnosed as asthma.
If you’ve been told you have asthma, see a specialist who’ll administer a breathing test to make the actual diagnosis, Gomez reported.
Then, work with that doctor to find the right combination of medications to control your asthma.
There’s no cure for asthma, but some people seem to outgrow it and the condition can usually be controlled with medications.
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