World Asthma Day 2023: A Gentle Reminder for Raising Awareness and Improving Care
Jaipur, May 2023.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), Asthma affects around 339 million people worldwide, and it is estimated that by 2025, this number will increase to 400 million. In addition, Asthma causes approximately 250,000 deaths every year, making it a significant public health concern.
Amid the severity and the rising incidence of the disease, World Asthma Day serves as a gentle reminder, which is observed every year on the first Tuesday of May, to raise awareness about Asthma and its impact on individuals and society as a whole. This day is also symbolic to address the myths and misconceptions surrounding Asthma and to improve understanding and awareness of this medical condition.
The theme for WAD-2023 – “Asthma Care for All,” addresses the global concerns of Asthma and promotes the development and implementation of effective Asthma management programs in all the countries carrying the burden of Asthma.
Deliberating on the misconception around Asthma Dr Ashish Malpani, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist, Asthma Bhawan, Jaipur, says, “By being aware of the triggers of asthma, individuals with asthma can take steps to avoid or minimize exposure to these triggers. For example, people with allergic Asthma can identify and avoid allergens that trigger their symptoms, such as dust mites, pollen, or animal dander. Similarly, people with exercise-induced Asthma can take preventive measures, such as warming up before exercise or using a bronchodilator inhaler.”
“Moreover, healthcare professionals can help people with Asthma identify their triggers and develop personalized care plans that address these triggers. By managing triggers, individuals with Asthma can reduce the frequency and severity of their symptoms, improve their lung function, and enhance their quality of life,” added Dr Malpani.
Management of asthma shall ideally involve regular treatment with inhaled corticosteroids. However, currently, the majority of the Asthma burden in India leading to increased morbidity and mortality is due to over usage of short-acting bronchodilators (commonly known “as needed usage of Reliever Inhaler”) and underuse of inhaled corticosteroids for regular day to day treatment of asthma.
Global Initiative for Asthma strives to reduce Asthma burden by reducing the usage of as needed reliever medications and recommending the usage of single inhaler consisting of long-acting bronchodilators with corticosteroids for both as needed and regular day to day treatment of Asthma.
It is also crucial to educate the public about the triggers of Asthma and how to avoid them, such as avoiding smoking and exposure to environmental pollutants. And to know this, one needs to take information from credible sources, which is available on the Healthy Lungs portal (www.thehealthylungs.com) – a one-stop credible knowledge repository on lung diseases. The portal is dedicated to enhancing awareness, busting myths, improving knowledge and motivating patients to adhere to the therapy.
“This is very important to understand that Asthma is a manageable condition, and individuals with Asthma can live healthy, meaningful lives with proper education, awareness, adherence and access to quality healthcare. Raising awareness around Asthma is the need of the hour”, added Dr Malpani.