Washington DC : A team of researchers has tried to explore whether or not tagging every patient’s breathing problem as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is viable, reports IANS.

Defining a patient’s symptoms using the historical diagnostic labels of asthma and COPD is an outdated approach to understanding an individual’s condition, according to the experts.

In a perspective article, Professor Alvar Agusti and colleagues call for a new approach to patient management, which moves away from categorising patients using the broad disease terms of asthma and COPD and towards a more personalised approach to management that identifies ‘treatable traits’ in each patient.

Hospitalisation rates for COPD are continuing to increase and a majority of asthma patients live with significant symptoms, impairing their quality of life.

While the labels of asthma and COPD are valuable for patients who display stereotypical symptoms, there are a growing number of patients who do not fit this category, including patients with adult-onset asthma, smoking asthmatics or patients with the so-called asthma-COPD overlap syndrome.

Agusti commented that they propose a label-free precision medicine approach based on treatable traits that categorise the clinical and biological complexity of airway disease.

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