19 April 2011

World Asthma Day 2011

World Asthma Day takes place on Tuesday 03 May 2011, and the theme is "You Can Control Your Asthma".

World Asthma Day takes place on Tuesday 03 May 2011, and the theme is "You Can Control Your Asthma".

  • No (or minimal) asthma symptoms
  • No waking at night due to asthma
  • No (or minimal) need to use "reliever" medication – if a person with asthma needs his/her reliever more than twice a week, their asthma is not controlled
  • The ability to do normal physical activity and exercise
  • Normal (or near-normal) lung function test results (PEF and FEV1)
  • No (or very infrequent) asthma attacks

More than 300 million people around the world have asthma and the disease imposes a heavy burden on individuals, families, and societies. The Global Burden of Asthma Report, a compilation of published data on the prevalence and impact of asthma around the world that was launched on World Asthma Day 2004 remains an important reference and indicates that asthma control often falls short and there are many barriers to asthma control around the world.

  1. The high cost of medicines means that many people with asthma may not receive sufficient medication to control their disease.
  2. Asthma medications are not available in some areas.
  3. Treatment that is not consistent with evidence-based guidelines may hamper asthma control. In South Africa there are wide variations in prescribing practices, and even when cost is not a barrier under treatment may still occur.
  4. The underuse of inhaled glucocorticosteroids for long-term management of asthma is a particular problem. These medications diminish chronic inflammation in the lungs of asthma patients, and are a key to controlling the disease.
  5. A general lack of access to medical care limits asthma treatment and control. This lack of access may arise from socioeconomic factors, or may be a matter of scarce infrastructure and poor transport, especially in rural areas.

  1. Declining asthma mortality rates over the last 10 years have been attributed to the increased use of inhaled glucocorticosteroids therapy and increased use of inhaled glucocorticosteroids has led to a reduction in asthma severity.
  2. National asthma campaigns have reduced asthma morbidity and mortality. The National Asthma Education Programme (NAEP) includes educational components for both health professionals and the general public.

  • Develop patient/doctor partnership
  • Identify and reduce exposure to risk factors
  • Assess, treat, and monitor asthma
  • Manage asthma exacerbations


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Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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