May Is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, so you’re probably reading a lot about the respiratory condition these past few weeks. Asthma is a serious problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 million Americans — more than 6 million of them under age 18 — have asthma. And it’s also a lot more common today than it was 30 years ago. That increase may be due in part to greater awareness and the ability to diagnose the condition sooner. But other possible contributing factors include additives in our foods and the way its processed, poor diet and the increase in air pollution.
Asthma effects people differently. Some people have symptoms like coughing and wheezing that can be quite mild, while others have more persistent symptoms such as difficulty breathing, which can be life-threatening. The most recent CDC statistics report that asthma claims more than 3,600 U.S. lives each year. Although asthma is not curable it can be treated.
Treatments can consist of long-term medication to help patients keep their asthma symptoms under control and avoid attacks entirely, as well as quick-acting drugs that patients can self-administer with an inhaler as needed. Because of the improvement in treatments for children with asthma, many children today can look forward to entering adolescence and adulthood with unimpaired lung function.
For those with severe asthma, there are biologic therapies that target molecules associated with asthma. Another treatment, bronchial thermoplasty, involves delivering heat to the lung’s airways to reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle that can obstruct breathing. There are many new treatments for asthma.
If you haven’t inquired about possible treatment options or changes in your treatment for asthma, it might be time to re-investigate.
Also view our presentation on Asthma in Children and Infants