1) WHO estimates show that 300 million people currently suffer from asthma. As many as 255, 000 people died of asthma in 2005.
2) Asthma deaths will increase in the next 10 years if urgent action is not taken. Asthma cannot be cured, but proper diagnosis, treatment and patient education can result in good asthma control and management.
3) Asthma occurs in all countries regardless of level of development. Over 80% of asthma deaths occur in low and lower-middle income countries. For effective control, it is essential to make medications affordable and available, especially for low-income families.
4) Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person.
5) Symptoms may occur several times in a day or week in affected individuals. For some people the symptoms become worse during physical activity or at night. Failure to recognize and avoid triggers that lead to a tightened airway can be life threatening and may result in an asthma attack, respiratory distress and even death.
6) Through appropriate treatment such as using inhaled corticosteroids to ease bronchial inflammation, the number of asthma-related deaths can be reduced.
7) Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children. But it can be controlled through different prevention and treatment plans according to individual symptoms.
8) The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are exposure to indoor allergens such as house dust mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture; pollution and pet dander; outdoor allergens such as pollens and moulds; tobacco smoke and chemical irritants in the workplace.
9) Asthma triggers can include cold air, extreme emotional arousal such as anger or fear, and physical exercise.
10) Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, creating a substantial burden to individuals and families and possibly restricting individuals’ activities for a lifetime.