Work-related asthma is asthma that is caused or exacerbated by exposures at work. it is the most common form of occupational lung disease in developed countries. It has important impacts on the health and well-being of the affected individual, as well as consequences for society because of unemployment issues and workers' compensation claims. With ongoing exposure, occupational asthma can result in persistent airway hyperresponsiveness and, possibly, permanent disability for the individual. Thus, it is important for the clinician to be able to diagnose this disorder as quickly and accurately as possible. The evaluation of a patient with work-related asthma can be extensive. It includes obtaining a consistent history, identifying the cause in the workplace, and confirming the diagnosis with objective tests. After a diagnosis has been made, treatment must sometimes go beyond the medications used for nonoccupational asthma and include interventions to minimize or completely remove the individual from exposure to the causal agent if he or she has sensitizer-induced occupational asthma. In addition, once an individual has been identified with occupational asthma, steps should be taken to prevent the development of this disorder in other workers. The purpose of this article is to review the current literature and provide the clinician with a stepwise approach to the diagnosis and management of a patient with work-related asthma.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine