Occupational Asthma, Not a Trivial Disorder and a Source of Fatal and Near-Fatal Events
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Purpose of review
Asthma is one of our society’s heaviest health burdens, which is estimated to be responsible for 250,000 deaths every year. Whenever severe asthma with fatal or near-fatal events is described, occupational asthma is not specifically mentioned, but its importance should not be underestimated.
Occupational asthma (OA) is the most prevalent work-related pulmonary disease. Therefore, it is a very important concern for health prevention and occupational health professionals. Although asthma treatments and earlier diagnosis have improved this condition’s control, severe exacerbations with unpredictable consequences still occur. Early diagnosis and allergen avoidance are the two main objectives in our approach to this disease. Obtaining a correct diagnosis and recognizing the responsible allergen is not an easy task to achieve, but it should be the clinician’s biggest concern. Severe exacerbations can be caused by many different triggers and their identification usually requires a well-trained expert in the field. Allergen avoidance should be the primary goal to avoid fatal or near-fatal asthma events, but good asthma control also is necessary to decrease OA future risk. The asthmagens involved in severe reactions are heterogeneous, making their identification difficult, but necessary. As these agents are used in very different industries and can be ubiquitous, OA should be considered in every patient with work-related asthma exacerbations or symptoms.
Severe events have been described with many types of agents and allergenic sources; therefore, every patient should be treated to obtain a good illness control, regardless of the responsible allergenic source.
KeywordsOccupational asthma Asthma Severe asthma Fatal asthma Near-fatal asthma Work-related asthma
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Ignacio Esteban-Gorgojo declares that he has no conflict of interest. Isabel Coman declares that she has no conflict of interest. Manuel Jorge Rial declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
References and Recommended Reading
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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