World Asthma Day 2023: History, causes, prevention and all you need to know

World Asthma Day is being observed on May 2 across countries. File Photo.

Asthma, a disease that directly affects your lungs, has affected millions of people including men women, and even children across the world over years. Asthma – which usually causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, and chest tightness – can be controlled by medications, but has become one of the most common diseases now. Speaking of which, in a bid to generate awareness about the disease and improve asthma care, World Asthma Day is marked on an annual basis on the first Tuesday of May. This year, World Asthma Day falls today, 2 May and it is being organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), an organisation formed in 1993 with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

On this day, people with asthma and organisation dedicated to asthma care and control come together to increase awareness about asthma and improve the lives of all people dealing with the condition.

Scroll down to know more about Asthma, its history, causes, and prevention measures.

About Asthma

As defined by the WHO, Asthma is a major noncommunicable disease (NCD) and is the most common chronic disease diagnosed in people, especially children. It is a long-term condition in which the air passages in the lungs become narrow due to inflammation and tightening of the muscles around the small airways. This results in patients having a combination of cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

World Asthma Day 2023: Theme

The theme for World Asthma Day 2023 is ‘Asthma Care for All’. This year, GINA through this theme aims to tackle the high levels of asthma-related morbidity and mortality in low and middle-income countries.

World Asthma Day 2023: History

Taken up for the first time in 1998, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) observed the World Asthma Day to raise awareness about asthma and draw people’s attention towards asthma care and prevention. The day is usually observed in the month of May, keeping in view the colluding of the spring and fall seasons, the time when asthma symptoms are said to worsen. Meanwhile, since its inception, the day has been marked in more than 35 countries and participation continues to grow over time.

World Asthma Day: Significance 

World Asthma Day holds major significance as it is the day dedicated to creating more awareness among the people and further drawing their attention towards the seriousness of the condition if left untreated. Besides creating awareness and promoting efforts towards asthma care, the day also aims to encourage healthcare providers to improve the quality of treatment and management.

Asthma: Causes and Prevention

There are a number of reasons that could contribute to the condition of asthma.

1. Asthma can be genetic as close relatives such as a parent or sibling can pass on the disease to the other family member.

2. People with allergic conditions like eczema and rhinitis can develop asthma.

3. Lifestyle factors can also increase asthma prevalence.

4. A few medical conditions or factors like low birth weight, prematurity, smoking, and pollution can also contribute to developing asthma or other respiratory issues.

5. Obesity can also be a cause of developing asthma among children and adults.

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent asthma, there are a few steps and medications that people can take to reduce the risk of developing the disease or having symptoms flare up.

1. For those who have asthma in the family should remain aware of the signs and symptoms and further contact their healthcare provider after experiencing any breathing difficulties.

2. Avoid exposure to any kind of harmful smoke or allergens to prevent the symptoms.

3. Follow a healthy lifestyle which should include exercise and a good diet to manage a healthy respiratory system.

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