A woman using an Asthma inhaler. Banner of World Asthma Day

World Asthma Day: Breathing Life into Equality, Prioritising Care for All

Take a deep breath in and imagine struggling to take that same breath out. For millions of individuals worldwide, that struggle is a daily reality due to asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that can severely impact the quality of life. But here's the thing: access to effective asthma care shouldn't be a privilege reserved for a select few. It's a basic human right. In this blog, we'll dive into the crucial importance of prioritising asthma care for everyone, regardless of their background, and what we can do to ensure that every breath is a little easier for all.

Breathing shouldn't be a luxury; it's a necessity - and that's what World Asthma Day is all about. This year's theme, 'Asthma Care for All,' is a call to action to prioritise access to effective asthma care for everyone. Because whether you're a CEO or a janitor, a student or a retiree, asthma can impact anyone, anywhere. So, let's roll up our sleeves and commit to making sure that every person, no matter their background or circumstances, has the resources and support they need to breathe easy and live life to the fullest.

The Global Burden of Asthma

  • The global prevalence of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Let's take a closer look at the statistics on the global prevalence of asthma.

  • Globally, an estimated 339 million people live with asthma, according to the Global Asthma Report 2018. That's approximately 4.4% of the global population.
  • In India, the prevalence of asthma is estimated to be around 15-20 million people, according to the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
  • Unfortunately, access to asthma care in India is often limited, particularly for marginalised communities. Many people with asthma do not receive proper diagnosis or treatment, leading to serious health complications and even death.
  • In addition to India, asthma is also prevalent in other countries, such as the United States, China, and Brazil, among others.
  • The prevalence of asthma is increasing globally, with experts predicting that the number of people with asthma will reach 400 million by 2025.

 

  • Economic and social impact of asthma

Economic Impact:

  • According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Chest Diseases and Allied Sciences, the total annual cost of managing asthma in India is estimated to be around USD 1.9 billion.
  • A survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research found that asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in India and affects approximately 15-20 million people.
  • In a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), it was found that approximately 60% of asthma patients in India had to pay for their medical expenses, leading to significant out-of-pocket expenditures.

Social Impact:

  • A study published in the Journal of Asthma and Allergy found that individuals with asthma in India reported higher levels of stigmatisation and discrimination compared to other chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
  • According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Pediatrics, children with asthma in India miss an average of 5.5 days of school per year due to their condition, leading to academic difficulties and reduced opportunities for education and employment.
  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) found that children with asthma in India are less likely to participate in physical activities and sports compared to children without asthma, leading to reduced social and physical development.

 

The Importance of Equal Access to Asthma Care

Equal access to asthma care is essential for ensuring that individuals with asthma receive proper diagnosis, treatment, and management of their condition. Asthma can cause significant discomfort, limitations, and even life-threatening situations.

This World Asthma Day, keep in mind that access to asthma care should be a fundamental human right, yet many individuals face significant barriers to accessing health care, such as high healthcare costs, limited access to healthcare facilities and specialists, language barriers, and stigma and discrimination.

When individuals have equal access to asthma care, they can receive proper diagnosis and management of their condition, leading to improved health outcomes, reduced healthcare costs, and an overall better quality of life. Proper asthma management can also prevent severe asthma attacks and reduce the need for emergency hospitalisation.

Equal access to asthma care should be a priority for global healthcare systems. Healthcare providers, policymakers, and the general public must work together to remove barriers to care and ensure that every individual with asthma has access to quality care.

  • Impact of unequal access to care on asthma patients

Unequal access to asthma care can significantly impact asthma patients, leading to poor health outcomes and reduced quality of life. Individuals with unequal access to care may experience the following impacts:

  • Delayed diagnosis: Without access to proper asthma diagnosis, individuals may suffer from symptoms for an extended period, leading to more severe health outcomes and a poorer quality of life.
  • Inadequate treatment: Individuals with unequal access to care may not receive the proper treatment for their condition, leading to inadequate management of symptoms and increased likelihood of severe asthma attacks.
  • Increased healthcare costs: Individuals who do not have equal access to asthma care may be forced to seek care from emergency rooms or hospitals, leading to increased healthcare costs and financial strain.
  • Mental health impacts: Living with poorly managed asthma due to unequal access to healthcare can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, which can further reduce the individual's quality of life.
  • Increased hospitalisation rates: Individuals with unequal access to care may be more likely to experience severe asthma attacks, leading to increased hospitalisation rates and associated healthcare costs.
  • Reduced life expectancy: Inadequate asthma management due to unequal access to care can increase the risk of asthma-related mortality, leading to reduced life expectancy for individuals with asthma.

 A doctor checking a patient with a respiratory issue or Asthma

Asthma Education and Prevention 

Education and prevention are crucial components of asthma care, particularly on occasions such as World Asthma Day, as they can help individuals manage their condition, reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, and improve overall health outcomes. World Asthma Day is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about asthma and promote education and prevention efforts worldwide. Here are some key reasons why education and prevention are essential in asthma care:

  • Early detection: Early intervention efforts can help individuals recognise the early warning signs of asthma, allowing for early detection and prompt treatment to prevent severe asthma attacks.
  • Better self-management: It can help individuals understand how to manage their asthma and take steps to prevent triggers. This can include learning proper medication usage, recognising asthma symptoms, and avoiding triggers such as environmental allergens and irritants.
  • Improved quality of life: Effective education and prevention can help individuals with asthma enjoy a better quality of life by reducing the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, allowing them to participate in activities they enjoy and live a more active lifestyle.
  • Reduced healthcare costs: Self-management can lessen the need for emergency room visits and hospitalisations, leading to lower healthcare costs and a reduced burden on the healthcare system.
  • Empowerment: Education and prevention efforts can empower individuals with asthma to take an active role in managing their condition and improve self-esteem and confidence.

 Programs and initiatives focused on asthma education and prevention

India has implemented various programmes and initiatives focused on asthma education and prevention. Here are some examples:

  • National Asthma Education and Prevention Program: The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a National Asthma Education and Prevention Program specifically aimed at promoting awareness and providing education on asthma management and prevention.
  • Asthma Awareness Campaigns: Various organisations and healthcare providers in India organise asthma awareness campaigns to promote education and prevention efforts. For example, the Indian Chest Society organises a National Asthma Day each year to raise awareness and promote education and prevention efforts.
  • Telemedicine for Asthma Management: The Indian government has implemented a telemedicine program aimed at providing remote asthma management services to individuals in remote and underserved areas. This program provides education, support, and consultation services to help individuals manage their asthma and prevent asthma attacks.
  • Asthma Screening and Diagnosis: Various healthcare providers in India offer asthma screening and diagnosis services to identify individuals with asthma and provide early intervention and treatment.
  • Environmental Protection Efforts: The Indian government has implemented various environmental protection initiatives aimed at reducing exposure to asthma triggers, such as air pollution and allergens. For example, the National Clean Air Programme aims to reduce air pollution levels in major Indian cities to prevent asthma and other respiratory diseases.

A man doing yoga and breathing exercises in the park

Ayurveda for Asthma

Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine, has been used for centuries in India to manage asthma. In Ayurveda, asthma is viewed as a condition caused by imbalances in the body's doshas (energies). Here are some Ayurvedic practices that may help manage asthma on World Asthma Day:

 

  1. Diet: Ayurveda recommends following a diet that balances the body's doshas. This includes eating warm, cooked foods, avoiding cold or raw foods, and avoiding foods that can trigger asthma symptoms, such as dairy, wheat, and processed foods.
  2. Herbal remedies: Ayurvedic practitioners may recommend herbal remedies to manage asthma symptoms. Some commonly used herbs for asthma include Curcumin (The extract of Turmeric), Ginger, Liquorice root, and Holy Basil (Tulsi).
  3. Breathing exercises: Ayurveda places a strong emphasis on the breath, and breathing exercises such as pranayama may help manage asthma. Pranayama involves deep breathing exercises that can help improve lung function and reduce stress, which can be a trigger for asthma.
  4. Yoga: Yoga is a mind-body practice that can help manage asthma. Specific yoga poses, such as the Sukhasana (Easy Pose) and Marjariasana (cat-cow pose), may help open up the chest and improve breathing.
  5. Ayurvedic massages: Ayurvedic massages, such as Abhyanga, may help manage asthma symptoms. These massages use warm oils and gentle pressure to help reduce stress and improve circulation, which can be beneficial for individuals with asthma.
  6. Preserva Wellness: Take a deep breath of fresh air with Preserva Wellness! Our Daily Boost Tea, featuring a mix of premium Assam Green Tea and potent Ayurvedic ingredients like Ginger, Liquorice, and Curcumin (Turmeric extract), will give your lungs the care they deserve. Pair it with our Daily Strength Juice, uniquely curated with Aloe Vera, Curcumin, and Tulsi for maximum respiratory support. Naturally created to reduce your risk of asthma and bronchitis and decrease your dependence on inhalers, Preserva Wellness has got your back - and your lungs.

Summary

World Asthma Day is a global event that aims to raise awareness about asthma and its impact on millions of people around the world. With the burden of asthma on the rise, it has become more significant than ever to prioritise care for all, regardless of their socio-economic status. This year's World Asthma Day focuses on the global burden of asthma and the importance of equal access to 'Asthma Care For All'. Asthma education and prevention are also essential for managing this chronic disease. Furthermore, Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine, offers a holistic approach to asthma management and prevention. In this blog, we delve into the significance of World Asthma Day, the global burden of asthma, the importance of equal access to asthma care, asthma education and prevention, and the role of Ayurveda in asthma management.

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