JAM | May 2, 2023

Today is World Asthma Day!

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today (May 2), the world is placing a particular focus on one of the most common non-communicable diseases that affect children and adults and can be pretty frustrating for many with the condition, Asthma.

Asthma is a chronic health condition that affects the airway of the lungs which can make it difficult to breathe and make lead to triggers such as shortness of breath and wheezing.

Each year on May 2, the world observes World Asthma Day to spread awareness about the health condition, while encouraging healthcare leaders to invest in resources to encourage ‘Asthma care for all’.

World Asthma Day was established by the Global Asthma Initiative in 1998, to spread awareness about Asthma and its health consequences.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 (1) and caused 455 000 deaths.

This medical condition is a significant health issue in the Caribbean. According to a 2013 local cross-sectional survey, the prevalence of asthma in Jamaican children is very high, with almost 1 in 5 (19 per cent) of children aged 2 to 17 years having current wheezing, and 1 in 6 (16.7 per cent) self-reporting doctor-diagnosed asthma.

Signs and symptoms

  • Chest tightening
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • difficulty sleeping due to shortness of breath

How to control Asthma?

Scientists and healthcare practitioners have not yet discovered a cure for the health condition, however, there are a few treatment methods that are used to help persons living with the condition to live a normal life.

One of the main treatment methods for the condition is the use of an inhaler, a handheld device that allows persons to breathe in medication through their mouth and directly to their lungs. Healthcare professionals may also prescribe other medications if the condition is severe.

Similarly, an Asthma attack can be controlled by preventing possible triggers such as dusty environments, inhaling smoke, strong perfumes or chemicals.

Keeping your environment clean and minimizing triggers can help individuals living with Asthma to live a normal life.

Each individual may have different Asthma triggers, therefore it is important for an individual to identify their triggers and therefore minimize them.

Likewise, speaking to a healthcare professional about changes in triggers and symptoms is also important in the treatment process.

Regular physical activity can also boost the overall health and well-being of individuals. Therefore taking a walk or doing yoga which are deemed as less strenuous activities can be beneficial to individuals.

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