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Editorials |

Getting the Most From the “Gold Standard”

W. Michael Alberts
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Tampa, FL
 ,  Dr. Alberts is Professor of Medicine, University of South Florida College of Medicine, and Associate Center Director for Clinical Affairs at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

Correspondence to: W. Michael Alberts, MD, MBA, FCCP, Interim-Chair and Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Associate Center Director for Clinical Affairs, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Dr, Tampa, FL 33612; e-mail: alberts@moffitt.usf.edu



Chest. 2003;123(4):987-989. doi:10.1378/chest.123.4.987
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Occupational asthma is not a rare disorder. Work-related asthma is now the most prevalent occupational lung disorder in industrialized nations.1 The prevalence is such that if one maintains a high degree of suspicion when faced with a patient of working age who presents with respiratory symptoms, there is a good chance that one will occasionally make this diagnosis.

Just how common is occupational asthma? The prevalence of asthma in the United States has been conservatively estimated to be 3 to 6% of the population. The prevalence of occupational asthma has been conservatively estimated to be from 2 to 5% of all cases of asthma. A recent study found an attributable fraction of asthma related to occupation of 29% in men and 17% in women.2 Five to 15% is the most frequently quoted range.1 If we take a conservative figure of 5% of the population as being asthmatic and say that 5% of the asthmatic population acquired their asthma from the workplace, an estimated 600,000 to 700,000 individuals have occupational asthma in this country. This, of course, is no small number.

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