WORDS PANK JIT SIN
Hi there. It’s me. Your friendly neighbourhood health writer. World Asthma Day is around the corner and there are important things you need to be reminded about it.
- Asthma is a chronic disease. It affects your airways leading to the lungs. While you may have heard of someone growing out of asthma, the truth is their airways have broadened or their symptoms lessened.
- Asthma can strike at any age. Just because you didn’t have asthma as a child, it doesn’t mean you’re scot-free. In fact, older people who develop asthma may have a difficult journey in getting diagnosed, as it is similar in symptoms to diseases such as emphysema and heart disease.
- My kid will never be a competitive sportsperson! Well, you’re wrong. Proper management of symptoms will allow a child to lead a normal life and this includes being competitive in sports and even going on to achieve greatness. David Beckham (the world-famous footballer), Jackie Joyner Kersee (the Olympian) and Kashyap Parupalli (an elite Indian badminton player) all achieved greatness in spite of asthma.
- Steroids in the inhalers will cause problems in my kids when they grow up. The misinformation about steroids in inhalers have been going on for generations. It needs to stop. The amount of steroid in each puff is miniscule. The steroids used in asthma inhalers are very safe and have a very low risk of side effects even over many years of use.
- Not everyone experiences the same symptoms. Symptoms may differ from person to person. Because of this, treatment for every asthma sufferer is also different. Some may need larger doses of inhalers; some may even need to take oral steroids to bring their airway inflammation under control. The key message here is—please visit your doctor regularly for checkups and maintenance.
Every year, the worldwide authority in asthma management decides on a theme and helps empower organizers around the world to undertake their own World Asthma Day event. The body is known as Global Initiative for Asthma or GINA. GINA collects scientific information from existing research and updates the guidelines on asthma treatment periodically.
This year’s theme is ‘STOP for Asthma,’ with STOP being the acronym for Symptom evaluation; Test response, Observe and assess and Proceed to adjust treatment. The acronym is for doctors to quickly recall the steps to undertake each time they see patients with asthma. It is also helpful for persons with asthma to know the basic steps in managing and modifying their treatment each time they go for a follow up with their doctor.
Remember, asthma doesn’t need to be problematic and does not translate to a poorer quality of life. All you need to do is get it under control. The sky is still the limit! HT
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