- About 235 million people worldwide have asthma and is growing1.
- In the Caribbean, the prevalence of clinical asthma is 10.4%2.
- Asthma represents an important cause of hospital admissions in many islands of the Caribbean, particularly among children2.
- In addition, asthma causes about 250, 000 deaths globally and in the Western world, 1 in 10 people develop asthma at some point in their lives.
Many people are not aware that asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that narrows the airways. Asthma cannot be cured, only controlled and for that, people should be treated for a long period of time. Asthma can start at any age, nonetheless more than half of the people show their first symptoms at the age of 10 and many children have their first attack before they reach the age of 6.
People with asthma never experience the disease in the same way, because the symptoms vary in intensity over time. Many people see diminished their quality of life by feeling shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest. Despite that and the number of treatments that exist to control asthma, more than half of patients (53.5%) have poor control of their disease.3
This situation has resulted in the need to increase awareness of asthma symptoms and control. Many patients can experience a better quality of life if they have the knowledge of how to recognize the symptoms and are familiar with the treatments that are available.
What if a person does not control his/her asthma?
When a person does not control his/her asthma, daily activities such as going to school or work, troublesome symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing can affect daily activities such as going to school or work. Poorly treated asthma can limit the quality of life significantly, because the symptoms are more acute over time.
Control of asthma is highly dependent on patients following prescribed treatment regimens. When patients are not clear on how to use drugs prescribed to treat and control asthma, they are likely to stop using medications. This leads to inflammation, worsening of symptoms and an increase in the severity of the disease ultimately diminishing the quality of life if asthma is not properly treated, the symptoms will reoccur and bronchi will remain swollen. These increase the likelihood of a crisis and the need for more frequent emergency room visits.
New treatments to optimize asthma control
The good news for asthma patients is that there are improvements in the treatments available to control the disease.
The asthma medications are classified as drivers and rescuers. Both drugs are administered in an inhaled form, because it is proven to be the most effective way to administer medications that control asthma. Today, there is greater understanding of the importance of inhalers to help patients control their asthma. This improves the likelihood of following treatment which results in patients feeling better and experiencing a positive difference in their quality of life.
Asthma management must be done individually. Each patient responds to medication in a different way. Effective control requires an ongoing relationship and effective communication between patient and his/her doctor.
GSK is one of the world’s leading research, pharmaceutical and health care companies – GSK is committed to improving the quality of life of patients so they can do more, feel better and live longer. For more information please visit www.gsk.com.
- World Health Organization. Asthma. WHO Web site. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs307/en/#. Updated 2013. Accessed May 21, 2014
- Global Initiative for Asthma. Global Burden of Asthma. GINA Web site. www.ginasthma.com. Accessed February, 2016
- Demoly, P et al. Repeated cross-sectional survey of patient-reported asthma control in Europe in the past 5 years. European Respiratory Review. 2012;21(123):66-24
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