More than 300 million people in the world have asthma – a chronic respiratory disease. It is one of the most common long-term diseases in children, although adults have it as well. Asthma causes wheezing; breathlessness; chest tightness and coughing at night or early in the morning. If you have asthma, you will have it constantly, but attacks generally only happen when something bothers your lungs.
An asthma attack usually starts when your airways over-react to a trigger, that is, something that makes your symptoms worse. This over-reaction results in airways swelling and narrowing, and producing more mucus. Breathing therefore becomes difficult, beginning with coughing and then progressing to even more difficulty breathing, and in most people, eventually to wheezing – noisy breaths that sound like a whistling or rattling sound in the chest
An asthma attack is traumatic for all involved. The asthmatic often feels out of control, fearful of participating in physical activity and is often embarrassed about taking medications such as inhalers in front of others. In addition, the sensation of chest tightness and struggling for breath that occurs during an attack is frightening. The story that is seldom told is that of the family members and caregivers who experience helplessness and loss of peace of mind while they wait, on edge, for the next attack, or sit helplessly watching their loved ones struggle for breath during an attack.
Diagnosing asthma, especially in children younger than 5, is often difficult. Often, doctors will check how well your lungs work, as well as for allergies, to determine if you have asthma. Other things a doctor will generally ask you:
Often, the doctor will also check how well your lungs are working using a device called a spirometer.
More than 300 million people in the world have asthma. In the US, the CDC estimates that 7.6% of adults (i.e., 18.4 million people) and 8.4% of children (i.e., 6.2 million children) have asthma.
All over the world, there are organizations committed to helping asthmatics and their families gain control over this disease. We’ve included a few helpful links below. Do you know of any other programs / helpful links that we should highlight, or organizations doing great work in the asthma space? Send us an email .
You can control your asthma. You can avoid an attack. How?
We’ve included some helpful links below about asthma management and control. Let us know if a website really helped you. We’d be happy to feature you and the link on our website!
THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE FOR ASTHMA
Launched in 1993 as a collaboration among the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institutes of Health, USA and the World Health Organization