World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) which is held on the first Tuesday in May to spread awareness about asthma globally and motivate asthma patients to keep their asthma under control.
The theme for World Asthma Day 2019 is STOP for Asthma where STOP refers to Symptom Evaluation, Test Response, Observe and Assess, and Proceed to Adjust Treatment.
Facts on Asthma
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, 235 Million people are suffering from asthma throughout the world.
- Asthma is a non-communicable and most common chronic disease in children.
- Asthma has no cure however, it can be controlled and enable people to enjoy a good quality of life.
- Children with milder asthma don’t have their symptoms with age but symptoms can return without warning.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects the airways which carry air to and from the lungs. In people with asthma, the inside walls of airways are swollen. This makes the airways sensitive to irritations and increases the susceptibility to an allergic reaction.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
The inflamed or swollen airways make them narrower and reduce the amount of air passing through them. This results in the following signs and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Sleeping troubles caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing.
- Increased severity in coughing and wheezing by an attack of a respiratory virus such as a cold or flu.
What causes asthma?
The underlying cause of asthma isn’t clear, but it is probably due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Asthma can be triggered when people are exposed to various irritants and substances. However, these triggers vary from person to person; some common factors are:
- Airborne substances such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and pet dander.
- Respiratory infections such as a cold or flu.
- Cold air.
- Air pollutants such as smoke.
- Emotional stress.
- Preservatives added to some foods and beverages, including shrimp, processed foods, etc.
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What could be the risk factors of Asthma?
It can worsen the symptoms of asthma with several factors which include:
- Having a family history of asthma
- Being overweight
- Being a smoker
- Exposure to second-hand smoke and exhaust fumes.
How can Asthma be prevented?
It is unfortunate to know that there is no way to prevent asthma. But, people with asthma can get a step-by-step plan from their doctor to deal with the symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. This plan includes:
- Regular vaccinations to prevent flu and pneumonia.
- Identifying and avoiding the factors that trigger asthma.
- Monitoring the changes in the breath.
- Taking medications as prescribed.