History is a witness to the fact that the human race comes together as one in unity whenever a problem of magnitudinal proportion like a war, an epidemic or a natural calamity befalls it. It is not surprising then that people of the world have come together on many platforms to fight the menace of various diseases together, diseases that overwhelm us with their intensity and their universality.
One such disease is Asthma. World Asthma Day is one such big event observed for an ailment that has vast demographic proportions in the world. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), more than 300 million people the world over suffer from asthma with 250,000 annual deaths because of asthma. Estimate that another 100 million people will get added to this number by 2025 points toward a grim future. In India, the burden of asthma is more than TB and HIV put together.
The first Tuesday of May every year is observed as World Asthma Day by the foundation called Global Initiative for Asthma or GINA as they call it.
Cynics often claim that all such ‘days’ are just a marketing gimmick to enhance sales of relevant drugs or promote brands. I’m sorry I beg to differ. And I can validate my stand.
Why does an earthquake in Nepal send the entire world into a ‘helping frenzy’. Aids start flowing in, volunteers from the Red Cross and innumerable other organisations bend backwards to be of help. Somewhere in our hearts we all think that this could happen to any of us any day and at that moment we don’t want the world around us to be a mere spectator.
So it is with asthma. The increasing numbers, the worsening pollution levels in the world, increased dependence on medication are factors that are cause for concern and immediate action.We have to contain the phenomenal increase in the number of asthma sufferers by understanding the underlying causes of the disease, involving medical professionals, health professionals, medical researchers, community health groups and health workers. Such increased awareness among public about precautions and preventions can go a long way in treating asthma patients without too much dependence on medication.
The need of the hour is to look for holistic methods of treatment that address not just the symptom-part of the disease but the cause-part too. Such holistic methods can help to boost body immunity to fight the disease in its nascent stage without resorting to too much medication especially for kids and young adults.
Asthma is treatable, this World Asthma Day lets strive to spread the awareness about Asthma to everyone who needs it!