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World Asthama Day: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Preventive Tips

  • May 03, 2023
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World Asthama Day: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Preventive Tips

World Asthma Day is observed every year on the first Tuesday of May to raise awareness about asthma and improve the lives of people with asthma around the world. This year's theme is "Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions," and it focuses on dispelling common myths and misunderstandings about asthma. Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a condition in which the airways become inflamed and narrow, making it difficult to breathe. The symptoms of asthma can range from mild to severe and can include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Here are some facts and statistics related to asthama and other related health problems in India;

  • According to the Global Asthma Report 2018, an estimated 37 million people in India have asthma, making it the country with the highest number of asthma cases in the world.
  • Asthma is responsible for approximately 15% of the burden of chronic respiratory diseases in India, according to a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care in 2015.
  • In addition to asthma, air pollution is also a major concern in India. According to a report by the World Health Organization, 14 out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.
  • Exposure to air pollution has been linked to various health problems, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
  • According to a report by the Indian Council of Medical Research, indoor air pollution is responsible for about 1.5 million deaths in India each year, and outdoor air pollution is responsible for about 0.6 million deaths.
  • The prevalence of smoking in India is also a concern, as tobacco smoke is a major trigger for respiratory problems such as asthma and COPD. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, about 28.6% of adults in India use tobacco in some form.

These statistics highlight the urgent need for measures to reduce air pollution and improve respiratory health in India.

Causes of Asthama

  • Genetics: Genetics plays a role in the development of asthma. Studies have shown that if a person has a family history of asthma or allergies, they are more likely to develop asthma themselves.
  • Allergens: Allergens are substances that trigger an allergic reaction in the body. Common allergens that can trigger asthma symptoms include pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander, and certain foods.
  • Irritants: Irritants are substances that can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms. Common irritants include tobacco smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and strong odors.
  • Respiratory infections: Respiratory infections, such as colds, flu, and pneumonia, can trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
  • Exercise-induced asthma: Some people experience asthma symptoms during or after exercise. This is known as exercise-induced asthma, and it is thought to be caused by the rapid breathing and drying out of the airways that occurs during exercise.
  • Occupational exposure: Certain occupations, such as those that involve exposure to chemicals, dust, or fumes, can increase an individual's risk of developing asthma.
  • Obesity: Studies have shown that obesity is a risk factor for asthma. It is thought that excess weight can put pressure on the lungs and make breathing more difficult.
  • Stress: Emotional stress and anxiety can trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.

Symptoms of Asthama

  • Wheezing: Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound that occurs when air flows through narrowed airways in the lungs. It is a common symptom of asthma, particularly during exhalation.
  • Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath is another common symptom of asthma. It is the feeling of being unable to catch your breath or feeling like you are running out of air.
  • Chest tightness: Chest tightness is a feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest that can be uncomfortable or painful. It is a common symptom of asthma and can make it difficult to breathe deeply.
  • Coughing: Coughing is a common symptom of asthma, particularly at night or in the early morning. It may be dry or produce phlegm.
  • Rapid breathing: Rapid breathing, also known as tachypnea, is a common symptom of asthma. It occurs when an individual is breathing faster than normal, and it can make it difficult to catch your breath.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion or tiredness that can be caused by asthma. It may be caused by the effort required to breathe or the disruption of sleep caused by asthma symptoms.
  • Difficulty speaking: Some people with asthma may experience difficulty speaking due to shortness of breath or wheezing.

The threat of asthama can be prevented by following a few simple steps and these are listed below for easy understanding.

  • Avoid triggers: The first step in preventing asthma symptoms is to identify and avoid triggers that can cause symptoms to flare up. Common triggers include allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander, as well as irritants such as smoke and air pollution.
  • Use an air purifier: Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter can help remove allergens and other irritants from the air in your home, reducing your exposure to these triggers.
  • Maintain good indoor air quality: Proper ventilation and keeping your home clean and free of mold and dust can help improve indoor air quality and reduce your risk of asthma symptoms.
  • Take your medication as prescribed: If you have been prescribed medication for asthma, it is important to take it as directed by your healthcare provider. This can help prevent symptoms from occurring and keep your asthma under control.
  • Stay active: Regular exercise can help improve lung function and reduce the risk of asthma symptoms. However, if exercise triggers your asthma symptoms, speak with your healthcare provider about strategies to manage your symptoms during exercise.
  • Manage stress: Emotional stress and anxiety can trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals. Strategies such as relaxation techniques and stress management can help reduce the risk of symptoms.
  • Get vaccinated: Respiratory infections can trigger asthma symptoms. Getting vaccinated against illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia can help reduce your risk of respiratory infections and their associated complications.

It is important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized asthma management plan that takes into account your individual triggers, symptoms, and treatment needs.

On this World Asthma Day, let us raise awareness about asthma and the need for effective treatment and management. Let us work together to dispel myths and misunderstandings about asthma and support individuals with asthma in leading healthy and fulfilling lives.