If you suffer from asthma, you know it can put a strain on your life, but there are ways you can actively manage the disease to ease its impact.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports an estimated 22 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma, 6 million of which are children.
So what exactly is asthma?
“Asthma is a common, chronic disorder of the airways that characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, bronchial hyper responsiveness, and an underlying inflammation of the lining of the airways,” says FMH Respiratory Therapist and Asthma Educator Cherie Hyssong.
Asthma symptoms can arise from exposures to allergens or irritants, viral respiratory infections, or exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “it can cause recurrent attacks of symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. In severe cases, these symptoms can be disabling and even fatal.”
Hyssong explains “for reasons not fully understood, asthma rates in the U.S. have risen rapidly for the past two decades. Asthma is now one of the most common chronic diseases in the U.S. with asthma symptoms experienced by 1 in 12 Americans each year.”
Asthma can cause missed school and workdays, poor sleep, and symptoms that interfere with physical activities; especially outdoors.
As we enter the season for outdoor activities galore, it can be difficult for asthma sufferers to join in the fun. But fear not, asthma patients! By actively self-managing your asthma, most of you can get back out there!
Those with asthma require ongoing expert care and education to properly manage their disease.
“Asthma self-management education empowers patients to handle their asthma symptoms in accordance with healthcare provider’s management and medication instructions for daily and emergency care,” says Hyssong.
For more information about asthma you can talk to your doctor, or come out to FMH’s Third Annual Asthma Awareness Day, May 14, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Francis Scott Key Mall.
During the event, asthma experts will be offering pulse oximetry and spirometry screenings, carbon monoxide readings and blood pressure checks as well as information on environmental asthma triggers, how to recognize symptoms, asthma medications and devices, smoking cessation and those all-important self-management skills.
For more information on Asthma Awareness Day, contact Cherie Hyssong or Shanna Figgins at 240-566-3836.
This event would not be possible without the generous support of Frederick Medical and Pulmonary Associates.