World Asthma Day is observed on May 7 annually in order to raise awareness about the condition that reportedly affects235 million people around the world. 'STOP for Asthma' is this year's theme according to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), in order to improve the lives of patients suffering from the chronic lung condition.
Causes of asthma
Asthma occurs in an individual when the airways become narrow, swell and inflamed. This causes the body to produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. Genetic and environmental factors can trigger the health issue. Exposure to dust mites, animal dander, pollen and extreme weather conditions are some of the factors that can trigger the condition. Smoking, secondhand smoking, obesity, pollution and allergies are also contributing factors of the condition. However, the symptoms of asthma can be different for everyone.
Here are the warning signs of the condition you need to know:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing (while exercising or laughing)
- Shortness of breath
- Having trouble sleeping
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, consult with a doctor. Treating the condition early will prevent it from getting worse and make it more manageable.
Treatments for asthma
While there is currently no cure for asthma, there are treatments available to help manage the condition. "Asthma is a disease characterized by airway inflammation and narrowing of the airways," Dr Nicola Hanania, associate professor of medicine in the section of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine and director of the airways clinical research centre at Baylor College of Medicine, told a news portal. Adding, "Although we can't cure asthma, there are medications and preventative actions that patients can take to control the disease."
Some ways you can try and avoid it is get a good night's sleep and stay active. "Medication is not the only way to control asthma. It is also important to avoid asthma triggers - stimuli that irritate and inflame the airways," according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Another option is to try a good breathing technique. GINA recommends a practice that is simple and effective. You can try this method sitting down or standing. Next, keep your lips slightly closed and breath in and out slowly and in a calm manner. However, you should find a treatment that works for you. The best way to do that is to sit with your doctor to design a treatment plan that will help improve your health in order for you to manage the condition. "With medical support, each asthma patient must learn what triggers he or she should avoid," WHO stated.