WAO President Dr. Lockey: To help asthma patients, focus on comorbidities

At the World Allergy Organization’s inaugural International Scientific Conference in Dubai last week, USF Health’s Richard Lockey, MD, emphasized the importance of managing comorbidities like sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, obesity, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other conditions that may exacerbate asthma.

Dr. Lockey, president of WAO, gave the keynote address that kicked off the Dec 5-8, 2010 conference, Asthma and Comorbid Conditions: Expanding the Practice of Allergy for Optimal Patient Care, attended by researchers, physicians and other healthcare professionals from across the world.

“I don’t believe you can take care of an asthmatic patient without addressing their comorbid conditions, and there are many of them,” said Dr. Lockey, Distinguished University Health Professor and director of Allergy and Immunology at USF and James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital. “In my opinion, diagnosis and treatment guidelines should also address these conditions.”

USF Health’s Dr. Richard Lockey, left, and Dr. Dennis Ledford gave key talks at the World Allergy Organization’s first International Scientific Conference.  

Dennis Ledford, MD, professor in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the USF College of Medicine, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and All Children’s Hospital, spoke to conference attendees about the need for clinicians to be more vigilant in identifying osteoporosis risk in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He discussed some of the myths and truths about asthma therapies and bone loss. Effective treatments for asthma and COPD, particularly corticosteroids, can increase the risk for osteoporosis.

Prevention is the key, Dr. Ledford said. “Once the damage is done, it is difficult to reverse. Therapies prevent bone loss more than they replace bone, so waiting for a problem to occur is ill-advised.”

Drs. Lockey and Ledford serve in top leadership roles at two of the premier allergy and immunology organizations. Dr. Lockey is in his second year as 2010-2011 president of the WAO. Dr. Ledford is president-elect of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and will assume the presidency this spring.

For more coverage of their talks at the WAO conference, visit http://www.worldallergy.org/2010dubai/press.php.