World Asthma Day 2017: What is asthma, symptoms and treatment

World Asthma Day 2017: What is asthma, symptoms and treatment
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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.

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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!

Comments (20)

  • My nieces and nephews all had asthma as children but grew out of it, luckily. My great niece has it now and she really has it bad. Last summer she was put into an induced coma twice through it. Luckily she’s a strong little girl and I hope she will grow out of it too, or at least get it to a much more manageable stage.

    Enjoy the journey!

    • Author

      Hi Mandy

      I really hope and pray that she gets out of it. As you mentioned that she is a strong girl, she will definitely manage it. God bless her!

      Thanks for writing in and sharing your experience

      Have a nice day!

  • Hi Sonal,
    Thank you for this informative article on Asthma and world Asthma day.
    My son as a little child suffered from Asthma when he had a cold. It was so severe that we had to rush to the hospital a few times as he was having such a hard time breathing.
    Scary indeed! As an adult he no longer needs his inhaler and only occasionally has a problem when a cold goes into his chest. Good information in your article. Thanks.

    • Author

      Hi Kathryn

      Its really good to know that he no longer needs inhalers and feels much better. God bless him!

      Thanks for writing in and sharing your experience

      Have a nice day!

  • Had no idea there was an asthma day thanks for enlightening me I am one of the lucky ones that was diagnosed with asthma from birth but then I grew out of it somehow :3 thankfully I never experienced an asthma attack i’m very lucky I guess 😀 haha great article Sonal Talwar learned something new 😀

    • Author


      Glad that you liked the post and you managed to grew out of it. Really lucky!

      Have a nice day!

  • This is a wonderful post. It is very informative. Awareness is key, also eliminating the right for people to smoke or use inhalers in public.
    Elise recently posted…Counting Game For Kids In Your Math Kitchen!My Profile

  • My sister has asthma and she still have to use inhalers.She has become very weak now.We have tried several medications,still nothing really helped.

    • Author

      Hi Joanna

      So sorry to hear that. I guess she needs to be more careful and eat healthy so that she does not feel weak. Maybe changing the hospital helps.

      I hope she gets well soon!

  • Hi Sonal,

    Thank you for bringing to light what Asthma is and how to be aware of it. My mother has it and a few friends of mind do. It can be a scary experience if one is not aware of what’s going on.

    The treatment is quite easy and of course, changing one’s lifestyle of those nasty “triggers” can be beneficial too.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…25 Tips Guaranteed To Easily Increase Your Blog TrafficMy Profile

    • Author

      Hi Donna

      Yes it can be a scary experience. I hope people are aware of it and its symptoms.

      Thanks for writing in

      Have a nice day!

  • Hello Sonal! I have heard this word Asthma many many times and even know people who say they have it yet I never really know anything about it! Your post here really set it all clear for me! I actually had no idea that people actually celebrate world asthma day.

    Great Share My Friend
    Thank You
    Chery :))

  • Hi Sonal,

    Thanks for the information about asthma.

    Both my wife and our youngest son asthma until we moved by the Gulf of Mexico down in Florida. The salt air, or something, seemed to have cured my wife. The different environment helped our son, too. Eventually he outgrew it and the symptoms like allergic reactions to household pets, etc.

    Thanks for the reminder about World Asthma Day!
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…Pharmaceutical Companies Just Wanna Have Fun And Dance On Your GraveMy Profile

    • Author

      Hi Edward

      Yes its very true that a change in environment can really help a person with asthma to grow out of it.

      Thanks for writing in

      Have a nice day!

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