The Cost of Asthma to Employers

Cancer, diabetes, heart disease and musculoskeletal issues are often the conditions employers are most eager to tackle, and we don’t blame them – these are conditions that cost employers billions of dollars year after year. But many times, employers crunch the numbers, come up with preventive measures, and they’re still not seeing the decrease in spend they’re hoping for. Where do they look next?

According to the CDC, more than 25 million Americans suffer from asthma – it impacts one in 13 of your employees. It’s often seen as a disease that just needs to be managed with drugs, rather than treated at the root cause.

It’s big spend. Do you have a handle on its impact within your organization?

Three ways asthma is impacting your organization

1. Look at your spend

According to a CDC report, annual asthma-related expenditures in the U.S. exceed $80 billion. These costs come from items including:

  • Medications
  • Treatments
  • Emergency visits

2. Lost productivity

When asthma symptoms are severe, many employees are forced to miss work when they have exacerbations – absenteeism. Others suffer through their asthma symptoms at their desk, but perform with lower quality – presenteeism. This loss in productivity can be one of the hardest hits for an organization – leading to an estimated 8.7 million lost workdays.

Most often, asthma is treated symptomatically; sufferers take medications and use short-term control measures to feel better temporarily. The side effects from these measures can make it difficult to perform their job, too.

3. Quality of life

Most importantly, asthma impacts employees and their quality of life. Symptoms of asthma can be:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Cough (often at night or during exercise)
  • Chest tightness
  • Irritated throat

Those with asthma are often stuck indoors during their difficult seasons, shelling out money out of pocket for OTC medications, unable to do many of the activities they wish they could. They miss work due to sickness and appointments, or struggle to give it their all at work. There’s an option to tackle the root cause of the disease.

Three ways to change it

1. Understand the connection between asthma and allergy

Studies show that 56.3% of patients have asthma caused by allergy. Asthma is chronic inflammation of the airways, and that 56.3% can attribute the cause of their inflammation to an allergy to pollen, dust, mold, or other environmental allergies.

2. Treat the underlying allergic cause of asthma with allergy immunotherapy

Allergy drops are a form of immunotherapy, like allergy shots, that gradually help your body build tolerance to the substances that cause your allergies. For those with allergic asthma, asthma symptoms are drastically reduced after tackling the root cause of the underlying allergy.

A recent Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality review found that “sublingual immunotherapy improves asthma symptoms, quality of life and FEV1 [Forced Expiratory Volume], and reduces the use of long-term control medications. It may also reduce the use of quick-relief medications.”

3. Sick children under your health plan can ramp up costs for years to come; providers using the La Crosse Method Protocol can start treatment in children as young as two

By intervening on allergies early in childhood, research shows that the allergic march can be halted – the progression of allergy to conditions like asthma, food allergies, eczema, sinusitis, and more, can be eliminated – along with a lifetime of associated costs suffering.

If you’re an employer, broker, onsite or near-site clinic that’s interested in implementing custom allergy diagnostics and treatment, get in contact with our implementation team to learn more. We work with you to determine the impact of allergy and asthma within your organization, and streamline allergy testing and custom allergy drop immunotherapy that has shown to impact a variety of conditions – asthma, eczema, sinusitis, and more – as well as the high costs that accompany them.