The World Asthma Day is observed every year on the first Tuesday of May. The event is organized on an international level by the GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma). The aim is to bring about awareness and to control asthma all around the world.
This year it will be observed on May 2nd, 2017. World Asthma Day was first celebrated in the year 1998 by GINA in Barcelona, Spain and was observed in at least 35 countries around the world.
The GINA organizes programmes every year in association with other people like healthcare associations and asthma educators and other. The theme for such programmes is ‘it’s time to control asthma’. But a singular theme is decided by GINA to be observed on the Day every year. Once the theme is decided the organization distributes the materials to be used along with the other possessions necessary in organizing programmes.
On the World Asthma Day, various activities that bring about awareness about asthma are organized at public places. The aim of these activities is to decrease the burden that asthma is associated with. It is the responsibility of each and every individual to help control asthma.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a common long-term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. These episodes may occur a few times a day or a few times per week.
Those affected with asthma often have difficulties breathing due to the lung condition. There is no cure and can affect people of all ages, sometimes being diagnosed in childhood and even later in life. However, some people do outgrow the condition as they get older.
Asthma is caused by swelling in the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This inflamation can mean the tubes narrow, making breathing difficult. The tubes can also become blocked with mucus and triggers include various allergens such as dust mites, animal fur and pollen. Chest infections, exercise, cigarette smoke and gases can also be triggers.
Complications of asthma include tiredness, stress, anxiety and depression.
What are the symptoms of Asthma?
Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma attack. These signs may start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that your asthma is worsening.
In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop you from going about your daily activities. But by recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma attack or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs of asthma include:
- Frequent cough, especially at night
- Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
- Wheezing or coughing after exercise
- Feeling tired, easily upset, grouchy, or moody
- Decreases or changes in lung function as measured on a peak flow meter
- Signs of a cold or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, and headache)
- Trouble sleeping
Symptoms of an Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is the episode in which bands of muscle surrounding the airways are triggered to tighten. This tightening is called bronchospasm. During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed and the cells lining the airways produce more and thicker mucus than normal.
All of these factors — bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production — cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty performing normal daily activities. Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
- Coughing that won’t stop
- Very rapid breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
- Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
- Difficulty talking
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Pale, sweaty face
- Blue lips or fingernails
The severity of an asthma attack can escalate rapidly, so it’s important to treat these asthma symptoms immediately once you recognize them.
How can Asthma be treated?
While there is no cure, inhalers can be used to prevent and relieve the symptoms. Speak to your doctor for further advice on these.
So let’s spread awareness and control asthma!