Study Shows Many with Lung Problems Use Inhalers Incorrectly

By: Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC Medical Correspondent
By: Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC Medical Correspondent

A new study reveals many Americans with lung diseases are not using their inhalers correctly and putting their health at risk.

Lung disease is extremely common in the United States, with more than 17-million people diagnosed with asthma and around 11-million suffering from emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

The majority of patients with these lung disorders use an inhaler at least part time to help them breathe. But a new study reveals that one in three people use their inhalers incorrectly.

Doctors asked more than 200 patients to demonstrate how they used their inhalers and found that 32-percent made at least one critical error.

Typical mistakes included failure to remove the cover, taking an incorrect dose of medication, breathing out into the device and not inhaling quickly enough.

The study revealed that older people and those with more severe lung disease were more likely to have problems using their inhalers.

But people who received instruction from their doctors on correct use of the inhaler made half as many mistakes.

Experts advise that patients talk to their doctors to make sure they know the proper inhaler technique so that all the necessary medicine gets to their lungs.

Lungs are internal organs, yet they are constantly exposed to our external environment.

With each breath, a host of alien substances enter our bodies, which are the causes of many respiratory illnesses.


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