Friday, May 13, 2016

Be #ASTHMAlaya! GSK Celebrates World Asthma Day

DISCLAIMER:  I am not asthmatic, nor any of my family members, but I know a lot of people who have this illness and how difficult it is to have asthma.

I thank God for not giving either me or Kib this disease.  I know how hard it is to manage asthma. I have friends whose activities were limited due to asthma.  It is also hard for parens who have asthmatic kids because when their child has an asthma attack, it really worries them so much.

Asthma is a heterogenous disease usually characterized by chronic airway inflammation.  Asthma is characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough that vary over time and intensity, together with variable expiratory airflow limitation.  Asthma can be triggered by dust, changes in weather, animals (pet hair in particular), exercise, tobacco smoke, and stress.

There are myths about asthma that needs to be corrected.


  • Eating geckos (tuko) can cure asthma.  This has yet to be proven and backed up by a medical research.
  • Asthma medicine is only needed to stop an attack.  It depends.  People who have mild, moderate, and severe persistent asthma need a daily long term controller medicine, usually an inhaled corticosteriod, to control inflammation and minimize asthma attack.
  • People can outgrow asthma.  There will come a time that asthma symptoms will 'hibernate', but it doesn't mean that a person is asthma-free.  There is still a possibility of an asthma attack in the future.
  • Asthma is easy to control.  Most of the time it depends on how well you follow your asthma treatment plan--the condition can be difficult to manage.  Goals of treatment include preventing chronic symptoms and asthma flares, maintaining normal lung function and activity levels, and avoiding serious or long term medication side effects.
  • Allergies have nothing to do with asthma.  More than 50% of asthma cases in the USA are linked to allergies.  Common allergens include cats, pollen, mold, and dust mites.
  • People with asthma shouldn't exercise.  Regular exercise is highly encouraged for asthma patients as this improves lung function and help maintain a healthy weight-reducing asthma risk and help breathe easier.  However, before beginning an exercise program, asthma patient should consult a doctor first.
  • People with asthma can't get flu shots.  On the contrary, the more that the asthma patient should get an annual flu shot because flu can trigger asthma attack.
  • Moving to a dry climate can cure asthma.  A change in the environment can temporarily improve asthma symptoms but it won't cure the disease.
  • Asthma medicines are habit forming.  Asthma medications are not addictive.  Long term use of medicine is often needed to manage the condition and prevent an attack.
  • Asthma is a psychological condition.  Asthma is a disease of inflammation of the lungs, although stress and emotions can sometimes exacerbate asthma symptoms.  Hyperventilation is not a symptom of asthma.
  • Steriods used to treat asthma are the same as the steriods used by athletes to get bigger and stronger.  The steroids used are different: the one used by athletes are testosterone, growth hormone, and androstenedione while the one used by asthma patients are glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid derivatives.
  • When I feel fine and have no symptoms it's because the asthma has gone away.  Asthma can be partially or well controlled depending on frequency and timing of symptoms, use of medications and impact on everyday quality of life.
  • Nebulizers are the best way to give asthma medicines to babies and children.  Medicines given by metered dose inhaler with spacer with face mask is just as effective as the inhaler given to adults.
  • Dietary supplements can help ease asthma symptoms.  A variety of herbs and supplements have been studied, but none have been found to improve asthma.

Sadly, the cause of asthma is unknown.  There are predisposing factors to consider, such as genetic history (personal history or first degree relative) with asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema, weight and smoking history.  

According to Global Asthma Report, an estimated 300 million people worldwide are affected by asthma, and in the Philippines alone, approximately 11 million or 1 out of 10 Filipinos suffer from this debilitating disease.  Out of 11 million Filipinos who have asthma, only two percent of it is controlled, the rest are either uncontrolled or partially controlled.  The number is scary, isn't it?

Even if asthma has no cure, it can be controlled.  

Question is, how would you know if you need asthma control?

If you are an asthma patient who experiences daytime asthma symptoms (coughing or wheezing) more than twice a week, wakes up at night due to asthma, uses an asthma reliever more than twice a week or have any activity limitations due to asthma, you may have uncontrolled asthma and need to immediately consult your doctor.

World Asthma Day is celebrated annually, held every first Tuesday of the month.  This is an annual event held since 1998 and is organized by Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.  

In celebration of World Asthma Day this year in the Philippines, GSK Philippines unveils "ASTHMAlaya Ka Ba Talaga?" campaign, a disease awareness initiative that also seeks to encourage asthma patients to be more proactive in consulting their doctors on how they can achieve asthma control.


ASTHMAlaya ka ba talaga?


This year's World Asthma Day celebration was participated by advocates from Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) and the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Inc. (PSAAI) who are one with the advocacy of furthering awareness and urgency among patients to consult their doctors for proper asthma control.


GSK, PCCP, and PSAAI committed on helping patients achieve asthma control

Photo op with GSK, PCCP and PSAAI team

I commit to help spread awareness about asthma!


So, for my asthma-stricken friends, be ASTHMAlaya!



For more updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/winagainstasthma/ and GSK's website at https://health.gsk.ph for more in-depth information.  To know more about PSAAI and PCCP, you may also visit their respective websites at www.psaai.org and www.philchest.org















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