World Asthma Day: You Can Control This Disease

May 5 is World Asthma Day, a day to raise awareness about this disease and increase patients’ knowledge about it. In this article, we'll tell you how this disease can be controlled.
World Asthma Day: You Can Control This Disease

Last update: 11 June, 2021

World Asthma Day has been celebrated every May 5 since 1998. This day was first celebrated in conjunction with the World Asthma Meeting held in Barcelona, Spain, that same year.

World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) every year. Its goal is to educate about the disease with different slogans. Both the general population and asthma sufferers themselves need to be aware of the condition.

Data on the prevalence of asthma is very disparate around the world. In countries like Germany, less than 4% of the population suffers from it, while 25% suffer from it in New Zealand, for example. In general terms, approximately four out of 1,000 adults are diagnosed each year in the world.

World Asthma Day also raises awareness about hospitalizations and emergency requirements for these patients. Asthma attacks can be very traumatic, especially for families with children who suffer from them.

The sensation of extreme shortness of breath, along with the painful breathing that sometimes affects the patients, produces a dramatic picture. The greater the knowledge, the better the approach to the problem, and the more avoidable anxiety is reduced.

What’s asthma?

Basically, asthma is an inflammatory bronchial disease. The lower airways of asthma patients become inflamed in acute attacks, obstructing the passage of air.

Similarly, the respiratory tract muscles also tend to close, which makes exhalation, the process of letting out air from the lungs, difficult. This narrowing is what triggers the symptoms.

Asthmatic patients suffer from varying degrees of shortness of breath, according to the intensity of the attack. In very acute attacks, the suffocation sensation is extreme.

Along with shortness of breath, they may also suffer from wheezing. This is a whistling sound that’s released from the bronchi as pressurized air passes through them. The narrowing causes wheezing, which can be heard without a stethoscope when the asthma attack is severe.

The patient may or may not cough. When they do, it’s usually a dry cough that doesn’t produce phlegm. This is because phlegm is usually present due to an infectious process.

Some inflamed lungs.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung bronchi.

Controlling asthma

The goal of information dissemination on World Asthma Day is to help patients learn to manage their asthma attacks. Similarly, to help them take the necessary precautions so that an attack doesn’t occur.

One of the control principles is avoiding allergens. These are the substances that the asthma sufferer knows will cause an attack. For example, pollen, dust, enclosed humid spaces, and the cold. Little by little, each asthma patient learns to identify the situations that worsen their condition.

Another good measure is breathing exercises. They help the thoracic muscles learn to regulate their movements. An asthmatic patient should do these exercises every day.

Experts also recommend asthma patients to exercise or play sports as part of their daily routine. They should take the precautionary measures that their doctor tells them and try to play a sport that helps them with their breathing.

These patients also have to learn a lot about the drugs they take. In addition to the doses and the name of the drugs, they have to know the possible side effects and the order in which to take them. When it comes to inhalers, learning the correct technique is key.

Children and World Asthma Day

A child with an inhaler.
Both children and adults who suffer from asthma can learn basic measures to control their disease.

Asthmatic children worry both their parents and the pediatric community. A child with poorly controlled asthma will have a poorer quality of life since they won’t be able to play as much as other children, will miss more school, and will be constantly stressed out.

In these cases, both parents and children have to learn about the disease. All the measures that we mentioned in the previous section must be adapted to the lives of children with asthma.

The child’s pediatrician also plays an important role. The family places a lot of trust in them since they’re the ones who solve their doubts and concerns. They’re obligated to educate adults to act calmly in attacks and to help the patient develop in the best possible way.

World Asthma Day: knowledge is power

For asthmatic patients, knowing this disease is a source of power. This is because it allows them to control their attacks, improve their development in society, and live as normal a life as possible.

People with asthma simply have to take a few precautions to stay healthy.

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  • Sánchez, Irina López, et al. “Prevalencia del asma bronquial alérgica y sus factores de riesgo en población pediátrica.” MULTIMED 24 (2020).