Randomized clinical trials and observational studies rarely consider individual patients' perceptions or preferences. Qualitative studies fill this void. One must not forget that patients may regard risks and benefits very differently, and patients with the same medical condition may have very different symptoms, as well as completely different thresholds of tolerance for these symptoms. Some patients with asthma may suffer primarily from exertion dyspnea, while others have difficulty coping with dry cough or insomnia due to nocturnal attacks. Any trial evaluating asthma interventions for symptomatic relief ought to focus especially on what is most important to individual patients. Patient perspectives and expectations should be taken into account when designing trials to evaluate interventions.
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.