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Asthma Day 2023: Why is it Called Asthma? History, Types and Causes

Asthma Day 2023: This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is ‘Asthma Care for All’. (Representative image: Shutterstock)

Asthma Day 2023: According to the National Library of Medicine, the word “asthma” originates from the Greek meaning short of breath

WORLD ASTHMA DAY 2023: World Asthma Day is an annual event held on the first Tuesday of May with the purpose of raising global awareness about asthma and improving asthma care. In 2023, World Asthma Day will be observed on May 2nd and is organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), which was founded in 1993 with the support of the World Health Organization. The main objective of WAD is to promote asthma education and management worldwide.

ALSO READ: Asthma Day 2023: Theme, History, Significance and Prevention Tips

This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is “Asthma Care for All,” which aims to tackle the high levels of asthma-related morbidity and mortality in low and middle-income countries. To address this issue, GINA intends to increase access to effective and quality-assured asthma medications and encourage the development and implementation of asthma management programs in all resource countries.

Why is it called Asthma?

According to the National Library of Medicine, the word “asthma” originates from the Greek meaning short of breath, meaning that anyone who experiences difficulty breathing or shortness of breath can be referred to as having asthma.

Asthma Day 2023: History

Since its inception in 1998, World Asthma Day has been marked in over 35 countries, coinciding with the inaugural World Asthma Meeting held in Barcelona, Spain. Over the years, participation in the event has grown considerably, making it one of the most significant global events to raise awareness and provide education about asthma.

Asthma Day 2023: Types and Causes

According to the American Lung Association, Asthma is often categorized into the following types:

  1. Allergic asthma
  2. Aspirin-induced asthma
  3. Cough-variant asthma
  4. Exercise-induced asthma
  5. Nighttime asthma
  6. Steroid-resistant asthma
  7. Occupational asthma

While the root cause of asthma is still being studied, here are some of the factors that play a significant role in the development of asthma:

  1. Genetic background or family medical history
    Having a parent with asthma increases your likelihood of developing asthma by three to six times compared to someone who does not have a parent with asthma.
  2. Allergic conditions
    Individuals with a family history of allergies, especially if one or both parents have allergies, are more prone to develop allergies. Certain allergic conditions, including atopic dermatitis (eczema) or allergic rhinitis (hay fever), have been associated with individuals who develop asthma.
  3. Viral respiratory infections
    Wheezing caused by respiratory problems during infancy and childhood may lead to chronic asthma in some cases. Additionally, certain viral respiratory infections experienced during childhood can also contribute to the development of asthma.
  4. Occupational exposures
    For individuals with asthma, being exposed to specific substances in the workplace can lead to the onset of asthma symptoms. Additionally, some people can develop asthma for the first time due to exposure to particular dust (like industrial or wood dust), chemical fumes and vapours, and moulds.
  5. Smoking
    The airways can be irritated by cigarette smoke, leading to an increased risk of asthma in smokers. Individuals exposed to secondhand smoke or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are also at greater risk of developing asthma.

Asthma Day 2023: Prevention

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent asthma, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing asthma or having asthma symptoms flare up.

  1. If you have a family history of asthma, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of asthma and to see a healthcare provider if you experience any breathing difficulties.
  2. Avoiding exposure to triggers such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and allergens can also help prevent asthma symptoms.
  3. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also support overall respiratory health.

Finally, if you have already been diagnosed with asthma, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan and monitor your symptoms to help prevent asthma attacks.

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