Today is the 20th annual World Asthma Day, an event held each May to raise awareness of Asthma worldwide. World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma, or GINA, an organisation founded in 1993.
World Asthma Day was first held in 1998, and is now recognised as one of the most important asthma events globally. Today hundreds of events are taking place around the world, make sure you check the GINA website to find out more.
For those unfamiliar with asthma here is a quick summary: [Asthma] is an inflmmatory lung disorder caused by hyperresponisveness of the airways leading to constriction of bronchial walls leading to restricted airways and increased work of breathing characterised by wheezing. Asthma primarily develops at a young age but it can occur in adulthood due to exposure to allergens and chemicals.
With pharmacotherapy being the primary tool for the treatment of asthma, primarily through short and long acting beta-agonists, the role of physiotherapy is more of an adjunct. Rightly so too, in no way should physiotherapy be a primary treatment of asthma, it should always take a supporting role making an appearing at certain times.
Typically, in the context of well controlled asthma physiotherapy intervention takes the shape of; breathing exercises, inspriatory muscle training, improving physical fitness, airway clearance techniques and crucially education. Overall the aim of physiotherapy intervention is to help the patient achieve a normal lifestyle with a normal exercise capacity, the avoidance of serious asthma attacks and the achievement of an optimal lung function with as few symptoms as possible.
Unfortunately not everyone with asthma has good control of their symptoms. This may be down to factors such as changes in environmental allergens, progression of disease, changes in airway mechanics or acute infections. In this case the aim of physiotherapy intervention may change to airway clearance techniques or breathing exercises to relieve anxiety and begin to re-gain control of work of breathing .
Seeing as today is World Asthma Day why don’t you take a few moments to read the brilliant asthma related content on physiopedia. Let’s help GINA by making sure our contact with people living with asthma is as worthwhile as possible.