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World Asthma Day Invites Greater Awareness for Common Respiratory Illness

person with asthma holding asthma inhaler for attack

When is World Asthma Day?

By Jessica Griesbach, RN, BSN at Network Health
Originally published on 4/21/2021
Updated 5/3/2022

You’ve likely heard a lot about asthma over the recent weeks and months as respiratory health has taken center stage. Asthma is a chronic condition with plenty of notoriety. Every year during the month of May, we recognize and work to spread awareness of this condition, treatment/prevention and the daily struggles and triumphs of those living with asthma.

What day is World Asthma Day?

An annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma, it is recognized on the first Tuesday in May. In 2022, World Asthma Day is on Tuesday, May 3rd. Since 1998, World Asthma Day has worked to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.

What is asthma?

Often surrounded by misinformation, asthma is a chronic lung condition that affects 25 million Americans. Asthma is the product of chronic inflammation in the lungs resulting in swelling and narrowing of the airway. This inflammation can be caused by many different factors, including genetics and external exposure like allergens or pollution in your environment.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Asthma can be diagnosed a few different ways. This testing diagnosis may include a detailed medical history, physical exam, lung function tests and/or a chest or sinus X-ray. The results from these tests will help determine the type and treatment plan for your asthma. Treatment often involves avoiding triggers, lifestyle changes and medications.

There are many different types of asthma, whose symptoms may be brought on by several triggers. The most common types of asthma are adult-onset asthma, allergic asthma, occupational asthma, nonallergic asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

Asthma: myths vs. facts

Asthma is a serious, chronic condition and it is important to understand the myths vs truths.

Myths surrounding asthma include the following.

Myth: Asthma is a childhood disease; individuals will grow out of it as they age.

False. Asthma can occur at any age (in children, adolescents, adults and elderly) and doesn’t just cease because you’ve reached a certain age.

Myth: Asthma is infectious.

False. Asthma is not infectious. Viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold and the flu, however, can cause asthma attacks. In children, asthma is frequently associated with allergies, but asthma which starts in adulthood is less often allergic.

Myth: Asthma cannot be fatal.

False. Fatalities due to asthma are rare but do occur. Greater awareness and treatment options have helped reduce the number of asthma deaths per year, but it is still a serious condition that can be fatal.

Myth: Asthma sufferers should not exercise.

False. When asthma is well controlled and with affirming guidance from a personal doctor, those with asthma can exercise and even engage in high-performance sports. Asthma is different for everybody. Understanding your own body and its capabilities and limits is crucial for living a fulfilling life while staying safe from potentially severe symptoms.

Myth: Asthma is only controllable with high-dose steroids.

False. In most cases, asthma can be effectively managed with low-dose inhaled steroids

Helping those with asthma begins with understanding

Although a relatively common condition in the United States, asthma is still surrounded by misinformation. Identifying myths vs truths is important in successfully controlling your asthma and understanding the journey that those with asthma are on.

If you have any questions about your own asthma diagnosis, the diagnosis of a loved one or would like to learn more about managing and preventing chronic conditions, your personal doctor is always able to help. For information on how your health plan can help you get the most out of your health insurance coverage, especially with regards to managing chronic conditions like asthma, reach out to us today.

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