World Asthma Day: "Revealing Asthma Misconceptions"

World Asthma Day – according to the Global Asthma Initiative (GINA) – It is celebrated on May 5. This organization began its work in 1993 and has not stopped in its struggle both to make visible and to create awareness about this respiratory disorder.

The World Health Organization has also joined in to give importance to asthma, since more than 200 million people suffer from it globally. On the other hand, annual deaths are above 380,000. Hence, World Asthma Day is of utmost importance in promoting favorable change.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease or condition that impairs the proper function of the airways. The difficulties originate from inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tree, which is accompanied by an abnormal production of secretions.

How asthma affects people varies. Within the categorization we can find the following types:

  • Intermittent: the average frequency with which it occurs is between 1 or 2 days a week and 1 or 2 nights a month.
  • Persistent: 3 or more times a week, with the peculiarity that the episodes occur once a day.
  • Moderate: manifestation of 1 asthma attack per day.
  • Intense: every day and with some frequency during the night.

Asthmatic patients are classified for their treatment according to the frequency with which they have attacks.

Causes

The exact causes of asthma have not been clarified. Despite this, the evidence shows a high probability that both genetics and environment are the agents that trigger the condition.

Thus, asthma attacks can manifest themselves if the patient is exposed to the following situations:

  • Pollen, dust mites, mold spores, smoke.
  • Physical effort of great demand.

Asthma symptoms

The symptoms and signs of asthma are not the same for everyone. Therefore, we expose some of the main signs:

  • Pressure, pain and persistent chest discomfort.
  • Sensation of shortness of breath.
  • Presence of wheezing during exhalation.
  • Trouble falling asleep due to lack of air.
  • Throat irritation.
  • Shortness of breath.

Available treatments

The treatments available for asthma are divided into long-term and quick-relief. The recommendation of the specialists is to use the long-term option and know the factors that generate asthma attacks to achieve stabilization in the acute moment.

Long-term medications include inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, combination inhalers, and theophylline. Knowing the medications, the specialist will be in charge of prescribing the indicated one, according to the results of the previous tests.

In turn, quick-relief medications are available for immediate and emergency situations. This is the case with rapid-acting beta agonists, anticholinergic agents, and oral and intravenous corticosteroids.. There are also methods of action in case of allergies, through immunotherapy and biological products.

Ultimately, when asthma reaches critical and uncontrollable levels despite the previously discussed medications, bronchial thermoplasty is resorted to. This procedure consists of heating an electrode within the airways in order to reduce smooth muscle contracture.

Read also: How to relieve asthma symptoms

Celebration of World Asthma Day

The celebration of World Asthma Day started from the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). The experts detected a serious problem in the population that was not receiving due attention. For this reason, they delved into an annual campaign to prevent and know how to act.

Although GINA was founded in 1993, with the support of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the WHO, it was not until 1998 when the annual celebration began with the presence of 35 countries.

The main objectives of World Asthma Day are framed in the following points:

  • Make the cases visible asthma worldwide.
  • Bring accurate information to the population on preventive measures for asthma attacks.
  • Motivate more investment to reduce annual deaths.
  • Minimize risk factors.

Revealing Misconceptions About Asthma

For the 2021 celebration, the slogan set was "Revealing misconceptions about asthma." The intention is end with a series of false assertions that have spread for a long time and that complicate the quality of life of those affected.

Some of those misguided definitions that are being eradicated are the following:

  • Asthma only affects children: false, since it is capable of affecting any age.
  • It is contagious: fake. It is not contagious, but other viral disturbances that cause asthma attacks are.
  • Exercise is not possible for an asthmatic: false too, since an effective treatment can allow it.
  • Steroids in high proportions are the only ones that calm asthma: false, since low-dose inhaled steroids are the best option for disease control.

Asthma patients can exercise. It is a myth to think that physical activity is prohibited.

How can I participate in World Asthma Day?

In addition to the usual forms of support, through social networks, using the label #WorldAsthmaDay and adding a message of support or a photo, in the celebration of 2021 a new window of participation was opened.

The initiative consists of recording videos with a maximum duration of 15 seconds in which a wrong concept of the place of origin of the participant is exposed, with its respective correction. In addition to this, donations are also a good way to get involved.

It may interest you: 3 ways to use honey in the treatment of asthma

Final thoughts on World Asthma Day

Bronchial asthma is a pathology that must be assumed calmly. One way to achieve this is by planning tasks, exchange of experiences with people suffering from the same condition, the respect of the exactitude in the taking of medicines and the understanding of the signals of the body in front of the acute episodes.

Ultimately, World Asthma Day is the opportunity to re-drive change and definitively end a problem that can be counteracted in many ways. Breathe without obstacles!

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