World Asthma Foundation Supports World Asthma Day and Beyond
World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma with a goal to improve asthma awareness and care around the world. World Asthma Day and Asthma Awareness Month will call attention to the health issue, asthma sufferers deal with the problem year round.
According to World Health Organization estimates, 300 million people suffer from asthma and it’s the most common chronic disease among children. WHO also notes that asthma affects people in all countries around the world regardless of development although most deaths occur in lower income countries.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the air passages (or bronchial) that lead to and from the lungs that makes breathing difficult. Usually there is inflammation, which results in a temporary narrowing of the passages that carry oxygen to the lungs.
Symptoms vary from person to person and in intensity, but generally include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure. Asthma sufferers often have recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing. Symptoms may occur several times a day or week and may become worse during physical activity or during the night.
During an attack, the lining of the bronchial tubes swell, causing airways to become narrow and reducing the flow of air in and out of the lungs. These attacks can cause sleeplessness, fatigue, reduced activity and absenteeism from work or school.
The basic causes of asthma are not completely understood, but risk factors for developing the disease include a genetic predisposition along with exposure to particles and substances that irritate the air passages and cause allergic reactions. Some irritants include dust in furnishings, pets, tobacco smoke, chemicals and air pollution.
Other causes include physical exercise, medications (aspirin and beta blockers), cold air and even emotional reactions such as stress, anger and fear.
Asthma is generally treated with two types of medications. Long-term control medicines help to reduce airway inflammation and prevent symptoms. The second are quick-relief medications which relieve asthma symptoms when they flare up.
There is no known cure for asthma but the best treatment is to control the disease by working closely with a physician, taking medications and avoiding triggers.
Education is a key part of controlling asthma and the World Asthma Foundation is helping to inform asthma sufferers, their families and the general public about the disease. The foundation’s website, www.worldasthmafoundation.org has continual news feeds and updates about asthma.
The organization also provides:
Podcasts and videos
Links to clinics and resources
Links to asthma specialists
Interviews with asthma specialists and
Links to local, national and global events
For more information and details about asthma, medications and maintenance programs, go to http://WorldAsthmaFoundation.org