You Can Control Your Asthma

Today, SRxA’s Word on Health is celebrating World Asthma Day.

World Asthma Day, now in its 13th year, has been held every year since 1998.  Originally celebrated in 35 countries, participation has steadily increased each year since then.  Today World Asthma Day has become one of the world’s most important asthma awareness and education events.

The  2011 event, is organized and sponsored by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and is designed to raise awareness about asthma and improve asthma care throughout the world. This year’s theme is “You Can Control Your Asthma“.  It aims to continue the focus on asthma control set out in the latest versions of the GINA guidelines.

These guidelines present a strategy for achieving and maintaining asthma control and require four interrelated components of therapy:

  • Development of the patient/doctor partnership
  • Identify and reduce exposure to risk factors
  • Assess, treat, and monitor asthma
  • Manage asthma exacerbations

Today will also see the launch of GINA’s next phase of its campaign to reduce asthma hospitalizations 50% worldwide by the year 2015.  As part of this they will introduce the Asthma Control Challenge with an online data collection system for countries around the world to track their progress in reducing hospitalizations.

Asthma control is the goal of treatment and can be achieved in the vast majority of asthma patients with proper management.  A person’s asthma is under control when he or she has:

  • No (or minimal) asthma symptoms
  • No waking at night due to asthma
  • No (or minimal) need to use “reliever” medication
  • The ability to do normal physical activity and exercise
  • Normal (or near-normal) lung function test results (PEF and FEV1)
  • No (or very infrequent) asthma attacks

Under this strategy, asthma is treated in a stepwise manner to achieve and maintain control of the disease.  Medication is increased—“stepped up”—when asthma is not controlled, and gradually stepped down once good control is achieved and maintained for a period of time.

How are you going to be celebrating World Asthma Day?  We’d love to hear your stories.