Asthma linked to low vitamin D levels

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Because of previous research studies, doctors know that inhaled steroids are the most effective treatment available for asthma today. However, some people’s asthma remains uncontrolled even when they take inhaled steroids as directed. One reason might be that inhaled steroids do not work well in people with low vitamin D levels.

This difference could be related to the increasing evidence that vitamin D is a critical natural factor that reduces inflammation. Up to 30 percent of the population is estimated to have low vitamin D levels. “Despite how common asthma is, it remains poorly understood and, in many cases, poorly treated,” said Sally Wenzel, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and director of its Asthma Institute. “The possibility that improving treatment may be as easy as taking a vitamin is exciting.”

The VIDA study seeks to find out whether taking vitamin D in addition to an inhaled steroid will help prevent the worsening of asthma symptoms in people who have low vitamin D levels. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Asthma Institute and School Of Medicine are recruiting patients for the VIDA Study. Adults 18 and older who have been diagnosed with asthma and are nonsmokers may be eligible for the study. About 400 people are needed to participate in this study nationally. The University of Pittsburgh will enroll approximately 50 people. Participants will be compensated. For more information, please call Mary at 1-866-804-5278. The University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute at UPMC has teamed up with former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis to sponsor the Breathe Life segment on the Jerome Bettis Show. Through this initiative, the Asthma Institute aims to raise awareness about asthma, new treatments, how to prevent attacks and how to decrease the overall effects of this disease. You can watch for tips during the show, which airs Saturdays at 7 p.m. on WPXI, or visit WPXI.com.

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