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November 9, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – College students and other young adults who are balancing the stresses of adult life for the first time often forego follow-up care for chronic medical conditions such as asthma. Pulmonologists say this break in care often opens the door to added complications.
Ohio State University Medical Center is working to reverse that problem with the development of a new program to help young adults transition from their pediatric pulmonary specialists.
“I started this program because we see a number of young patients fall through the cracks,” says Dr. Stephen Kirkby, a pulmonologist at Ohio State’s Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “They might move away or outgrow their pediatric doctor, and they’re not sure how to find an adult specialist for their ongoing condition.” Kirkby is among approximately 15 physicians in the country who are specially trained to bridge the transition, with board certification in both pediatric and adult pulmonary and critical care.
Young adults who don’t continue to receive care for ongoing lung conditions like asthma can develop more serious symptoms that can require hospitalization or become life-threatening.
Asthma affects nearly 34 million children and adults in the U.S. and is responsible for nearly half a million hospital stays each year. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest. Common triggers that young people in a new environment might face include stress, dust, mold, tobacco smoke and chemicals in the air or in food.
Young adults with asthma and other lung diseases can seek care at the new congenital lung disease clinic in Ohio State’s Lung Center, located at the Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza, 2050 Kenny Road in Columbus. Call 614-293-4925 for an appointment.