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.

You Can Control Your Asthma

To mark World Asthma Day, SRxA’s Word on Health spoke exclusively to four of the world’s leading asthma specialists.

In keeping with the “You Can Control Your Asthma” theme of World Asthma Day 2010, we asked these Top Docs to share their #1 piece of advice for people with asthma.

Allan Luskin MD, Chair of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program is adamant “Asthma can be controlled -accept nothing less.”

The Madison, WI allergist and immunologist continued “Better isn’t good enough.  Patients should try for “normal’ and for many people that’s achievable.  Normal means they sleep through the night, wake up with a clear chest in the morning, hardly ever need a rescue inhaler, are fully active including whatever exercise they want to do, and are able to get a cold without needing an urgent visit to the office or ER and using medication with no significant side effects.”

Bill Storms MD, Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Director of the Research Center at the William Storms Allergy Clinic in Colorado Springs, CO says succinctly “Take your meds on a preventative basis, not as needed.”

World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in collaboration with health care groups and asthma educators to raise awareness about asthma and improve asthma care throughout the world.  The first World Asthma Day, in 1998, was celebrated in more than 35 countries. Participation has increased with each World Asthma Day held since then, and the day has become one of the world’s most important asthma awareness and education events.

Michael Kaliner MD, Founder and Director of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy, Wheaton, MD advises, “Most asthma is due to allergies. Having an allergy assessment by a certified allergist can lead to advice about allergy avoidance and consideration for allergy injection therapy. Allergy injections are the only treatment of any kind that can reduce asthma at its root cause.”

Brad Chipps MD, Director of the Capital Allergy and Respiratory Disease Center, Sacramento, CA adds “The most important advice to maintain asthma control is a thorough understanding of what constitutes good asthma control both in impairment (day to day symptoms) and risk (exacerbations) domains. This should be integral of the treatment plan provided to each patient.”

Four excellent pieces of advice, from four outstanding clinicians.

To learn more about how SRxA can help you to educate patients, physicians or allied health professionals on asthma control and management contact us today.