Asthma is a common comorbid disorder that will be seen by otolaryngologists in their treatment of patients with rhinitis, rhinosinusitis, and otitis media. Among otolaryngologists, however, a diagnosis of asthma is infrequently considered in this patient population. Otolaryngologists, however, may be in an important position to recognize this potential diagnosis and provide treatment or appropriate referral. To further develop this relationship among upper and lower airway inflammation, and to provide important information to otolaryngologists regarding this relationship, a multidisciplinary workgroup was impaneled by the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy in August 2006. The full report of this meeting is published separately as a Supplement to Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. This Executive Summary provides a brief synopsis of that document, with a focus on comorbid respiratory inflammation for otolaryngologists. In the treatment of their patients with allergic rhinitis and rhinosinusitis, otolaryngologists must be aware of the possible presence of asthma so that appropriate treatment and/or referral can be initiated. The impact of this practice will allow more comprehensive treatment of patients with upper and lower airway disease, and will improve patient symptoms, function, and quality of life.
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