World Asthma Day is taking place today, May 3, with the theme « You can control your asthma. » This annual event is organized by the the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
What is asthma ?
Asthma is a chronic disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Symptoms are most commonly breathlessness, wheezing, tight feeling in the chest and continuing cough. When asthma flares up, it becomes very hard to breath.
The figures for 2016 are alarming. Worldwide there are 300 million of asthmatic. Each day, there are around 225 000 deaths from this illness. Moreover, the number of people with asthma continues to grow. Asthma most often starts during childhood. In the United States, one quarter of the ill persons are children.
The causes of asthma are not fully understood. According to the WHO, the development of the disease is closely related with genetic predisposition and particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways. INERIS researchers have tackled this issue. Their studies show a strong correlation between pollution peaks and increases of hospital admissions due to asthma. They also emphasize the role of particles in allergen penetration.
What can we do ?
Even if the number of asthmatics continues to grow, all deaths can be prevented with medical support. In fact, asthma is under-diagnosed and under-screened with six asthmatics out of ten. It is necessary to make progress in this respect.