World Asthma Day is observed every year on the first Tuesday of May which this year is on May 7. This year the theme for the day is ‘Stop for Asthma’.
The World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma, awareness and care around the world. World Asthma Day takes place on the first Tuesday of May. The inaugural World Asthma Day was held in 1998
World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
Global initiative for asthma :
The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) strives to increase awareness of asthma among health professionals, health authorities, and the general public.
The goals include improving diagnoses, management and prevention of asthma by stimulating research, and providing evidence-based educational resources for worldwide use.
World Asthma Day 2019 – Theme :
Each year GINA chooses a theme and coordinates preparation and distribution of World Asthma Day materials and resources. GINA also maintains the World Asthma Day Internet Headquarters, where materials and resources are posted for downloading and a complete listing of activities around the world is constantly updated.
This year’s theme for the day is ‘Stop for Asthma’. Stop stands for :
S – Symptom evaluation
T – Test Response
O – Observe and assess
P – Proceed to adjust treatment
The first World Asthma Day, in 1998, was celebrated in more than 35 countries in conjunction with the first World Asthma Meeting held in Barcelona, Spain. Participation has increased with each World Asthma Day held since then, and the day has become one of the world’s most important asthma awareness and education events.
What is Asthma ?
Asthma is a breathing problem that affects the airways in the lungs. What happens is that the airways react to certain substances, known as irritants and become inflamed and narrow making breathing difficult. This may also lead to extra mucus secretion by the lining of the airways, which further tends to narrow the airways.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma, modern medicine has made it possible to control the symptoms completely, so that one can almost forget having asthma. Hence, there’s no need to hold back from having a normal, active life just because one has asthma.
There are many prominent personalities in the film industry, the business world, and even in the field of sports who have asthma but it has not stopped them from living a fulfilling life.
Facts about Asthma :
- According to World Health Organization, 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide.
- Asthma is one of the major non-communicable diseases. It is also the most chronic disease in children.
- Asthma cannot be cured but appropriate management can control the disorder and enable people to enjoy good quality of life.
- Some children with milder forms of asthma don’t have their symptoms with age but symptoms can return without any warning.
Asthma triggers :
A trigger is anything — from dust mites to deodorants — that irritates the airways. It can cause the airways to become narrow and inflamed, leading to asthma symptoms. Avoiding triggers, if possible, can help to control asthma.
It is important to remember that everyone’s asthma is different, and therefore their triggers tend to be different as well. Sometimes the triggers may be easy to identify, while sometimes it may not be.
Asthma Symptoms :
It’s very easy to recognize the symptoms of asthma. The common symptoms of asthma are:
Shortness of breath or breathlessness : the patient feel like he/she can’t get enough air in or out of lungs, and find it especially difficult to breathe out.
Frequent or persistent cough : If one have a cough that doesn’t go away for many days, and find that often cough at night or after exercising.
Wheezing : one hears a whistling sound every time you breathe out.
Tightness in the chest : the asthma patient get a tight feeling in the chest, like someone is squeezing or sitting on chest.
It’s not necessary that every person with asthma shows all of these symptoms. For instance, some people may have disturbed sleep at night due to excessive coughing, while others may experience breathlessness while exercising. It is important that one watch out for the symptoms, so that one can help doctor diagnose condition accurately.
Main cause of Asthma :
Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include: Airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste.
Types of Asthma :
- Adult-Onset Asthma.
- Allergic Asthma.
- Asthma-COPD Overlap.
- Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (EIB)
- Nonallergic Asthma.
- Occupational Asthma.
Asthma does, however, have an effect on quality of life because attacks can be unpleasant and distressing and can restrict activity. In exceptional cases, asthma can be life-threatening, particularly if it is not treated adequately or promptly. For some of these, an attack is so severe that it results in death.
The set of inflammatory events in the respiratory system can lead to the severe symptoms of an asthma attack.
Worldwide, around 250000 people die every year as a result of asthma.
Asthma attacks occur when symptoms are at their peak. They might begin suddenly and can range from mild to severe.
In some asthma attacks, swelling in the airways can completely prevent oxygen from reaching the lungs, which also stops it entering the bloodstream and traveling to vital organs.
This type of asthma attack can be fatal and requires urgent hospitalization.
Asthma in Bengaluru :
According to the World Health Organisation, there are about 2 crore asthma patients globally of which every 10 patients are from India.
Bengaluru is considered asthma capital of India. This is due to the increased number of asthmatic patients being reported each year.
Bengaluru has one of the highest incidences of asthma in the country and is also referred to as the asthma capital of the country with 25 per cent of cases reported from the city. In 2005, six lakh people were diagnosed with asthma in the city.
The primary cause of the condition is pollution, which increases the allergic conditions in the respiratory tract. An increasing number of children are becoming patients of this condition.
Common misconceptions about inhalers :
There is an urban legend in Bengaluru that inhalers are dangerous. Many asthmatic patients h are hesitant to use inhalers. Research has proved that using inhalers is the best course of treatment for asthma.
According to some the misconceptions are driven by promoters of alternative therapy for asthma who say that inhalers are addictive. However improper dosage and frequent use of inhalation without consultation is dangerous and can cause long-term side effects.
What is an asthma action plan?
Patient education is a critical component in the successful management of asthma. An asthma action plan provides an individual with specific directions for daily asthma management and for adjusting medications in response to increasing symptoms or decreasing lung function, as usually measured by a peak flow meter.
Prevention of Asthma :
With the increasing prevalence of asthma, numerous studies have looked for risk factors and ways to potentially prevent asthma. It has been shown that individuals living on farms are protected against wheezing, asthma, and even environmental allergies.
The role of air pollution has been questioned in both the increased incidence of asthma and in regards to asthma exacerbations.
Climate change is also being studied as a factor in the increased incidence of asthma. Maternal Smoking during pregnancy is a risk factor for asthma and poor outcomes. Tobacco smoke is also a significant risk factor for the development and progression of asthma.
Treatment of environmental allergies with allergen immunotherapy, or allergy shots, has been shown to decrease a child’s risk of developing asthma.
The development of asthma is ultimately a complex process influenced by many environmental and genetic factors, and currently there is no proven way to decrease an individual’s risk of developing asthma.