Riskfactorphobic doctors give misguided advice on asthma
There is no medical evidence to support the popular misconception that dairy foods can trigger asthma attacks, or that cutting out milk and other dairy products will alleviate asthma symptoms among sufferers. According to a recent Australian survey, however, 14% of GPs share the unfounded popular phobias about dairy products, 30% are confused and over half, even when they know the real facts, continue to "hedge their bets" by advising patients to use dietary modifications to treat asthma.
The National Asthma Campaign in Australia has warned that cutting out dairy foods is potentially harmful, particularly in young children, as these are the main source of calcium and a major source of riboflavin, protein and other vitamins in their diet. By advising patients to avoid these products, misguided GPs are putting them at risk of malnutrition and osteoporosis.
It is hard nowadays to find a food product that has not been the subject of a health scare, or 'linked' to a deadly disease, or branded carcinogen-of-the-week by six newspapers in search of a headline – and milk has for some time been a fashionable taboo-food among the chattering classes who define themselves through their imaginary allergies. One would hope, however, that GPs would have more sense than to believe everything they read in the papers, or everything they hear at dinner parties.
Unfortunately, it seems that many Australian GPs have succumbed to 'riskfactorphobia' – overreaction to health scares and warnings, resulting in fear, anxiety and attempts to follow contradictory or misguided advice. Riskfactorphobia is a common side effect of health scares, potentially damaging but at least understandable in laypersons with little knowledge of science, but seriously worrying when encountered among the medical profession.