300 million people in the world suffer from asthma. But until now, according to doctors’ statistics, less than 40% of asthmatic patients control its manifestations, consult a doctor in a timely manner and follow all his instructions in cases of acute illness. Many patients do not even know how to recognize the early signs of deterioration of their condition and start taking medications too late.
One third of American adults are trying to assess their health with the help of online tests and text descriptions. On average, an asthma patient in the United States visits a doctor three times a year, but only spends at least 52 hours searching for information about his health. 52% of smartphone owners receive medical information with their help.
MedAboutMe found out that they are looking for asthmatics on the Internet and do they have a chance to find it on the Russian-language “web” or on a smartphone?
Allergy and bronchial asthma
Bronchial asthma is a chronic disease that requires the patient’s constant self-monitoring and environmental assessment for the appearance of possible triggers for an asthmatic attack.
Asthmatics, like many other patients with a chronic disease, are vulnerable and need support. But support can be different. For example, marketers have long “taken under their wing” people with asthma. In the market you can find a wide range of products for every taste: super vacuum cleaners with special air filters, special protection for mattresses, special bedding and other anti-asthmatic accessories. However, studies have shown that all these devices only slightly reduce the level of allergens in the house – not so significant that it has a real impact on the frequency of attacks. It can be said that none of these devices is effective enough to protect asthmatics against seizures associated with allergies. Therefore, these people should look for other ways to reduce allergies.
Psychology of asthmatics
Bronchial asthma is often associated not only with the presence of allergens in the air, but also with the psychosomatic component. For example, under the influence of dust, voices in asthmatics change, become more hoarse, dry, but the examination does not reveal any physiological changes.
Often there are cases when an attack of bronchial asthma develops on the background of certain situations that are for one reason or another stressful for a person. A number of scientists see a connection between stress and the body’s inflammatory reactions, which explains why stress is so dangerous for asthmatics.
Today, social networks are becoming a haven for more and more people. Attitude towards online communication with doctors remains ambiguous. It was proved that communication in social networks can become both a cause of the deterioration of asthmatics, and, conversely, relieve stress and reduce the risks of an attack. Anxiety, depression – these conditions negatively affect self-control in a person with asthma. And the exacerbation of these conditions or the reduction of their manifestations may also be closely associated with Internet communication. However, the researchers point out that certain character traits and personalities may be risk factors for developing asthma attacks, regardless of whether a person communicates on social networks or not. This is about extroversion and neuroticism, which to a large extent determine psychology patient behavior.
In addition, it is known that the better a person understands the nature of his illness, the more carefully he follows the instructions of doctors. For example, even those patients who use metered-dose inhalers do not always do it correctly. As a result, the effect of such treatment is minimal, and the quality of human life continues to be quite low.
Finally, it was proved that people with asthma who receive social support are 3.6 times more likely to follow the plan of action for asthma and the prescribed course of treatment than those who do not have such support. Non-compliance with the patient regimen is also observed 1.53 times more often against the background of a lack of social connections that give a positive response.
So, as follows from the above, it is important for asthmatics:
- Follow asthma action plan and prescribed treatment.
- Control the risk of developing allergic attacks.
- Avoid stressful situations and receive psychological support that reduces the likelihood of stress.
- To be able to obtain current information on their disease: on new markers of ailment, its genetic components, on admission and availability of drugs, their side effects, as well as on various alternative methods of treatment, including the ability to check their adequacy.
What can Internet and mobile technologies offer?
Mobile applications for asthmatics
Analysis of the market of mobile applications focused on US residents, conducted in 2014, allows us to draw the following conclusions. The most common applications on the subject of “bronchial asthma” are programs that focus on educating users to manage their disease (52%). Of them:
- 39% of applications are designed for supporters of alternative medicine. They offer training in yoga, acupressure, various systems of breathing exercises.
- 22% of applications contain general information about asthma in the form of text, video or audio files.
- 17% of applications are devoted to the treatment of asthma, including the nuances of inhalation.
- Finally, 18% of applications associated with asthma are not for patients, but for clinics and doctors.
According to the results of the study, patients who adhered to a plan of action for asthma developed by a physician, less often visited emergency departments and hospitals. Such an action plan can be presented, in particular, in electronic form, as well as in the form of a self-monitoring diary. Many such diaries suggest that the patient has an individual peak flow meter on hand, designed to measure one of the key indicators of a person’s condition — peak expiratory flow.
Speaking of mobile applications available to the Russian user, several main trends should be noted:
- The main problem of Russian mobile applications for patients with asthma is Russification. Not all of them are focused on Russian-speaking users. As a result, even informational applications designed to educate and educate patients come out in English, which is not acceptable for the majority of Russian patients;
- applications that promote alternative medicine are more than programs that are based on recommendations from official doctors;
- The number of educational, educational, informational applications is surprisingly small.
Mobile application designed for patients with bronchial asthma. This is an American development that allows the patient to keep a diary of his condition, monitor the administration of drugs and track triggers of asthmatic attacks. The color scale for the given parameters indicates the severity of the human disease at the moment. The application is convenient because you can share records and graphical conclusions with your doctor. Parents can monitor their child’s condition remotely. Analogs are also programs Asthma Tracker, Asthma Monitor, etc.
An application that involves contact with the doctor and patient. It is assumed that a person suffering from asthma will fill out a short survey twice a day, measure the peak expiratory flow rate and indicate medication intake. The program will track changes in the patient’s condition and will be able to send a message about the deterioration to the doctor.
Popular application site MedAboutMe, which can to a large extent make life easier for asthmatics. Many asthmatics are weather-sensitive people, and the application reports on which days the risk of developing an asthmatic attack increases as the weather changes. Besides, “Meteododoktor” allows you to evaluate the allergic situation in different geographical locations of the world, as it indicates the moments of flowering of various plants.