Most Canadians have uncontrolled asthma according to the Canadian Lung Associations ASTHMA CONTROL IN CANADATM SURVEY 2016. It also reveals that most asthmatics may not take asthma seriously as a chronic respiratory disease.
Currently there are 2.4 million Canadians live with asthma, with an estimated 317 new diagnosis’ of asthma every day1. Asthma accounts for 70, 000 Emergency room visits per year in Canada1.
So what does controlled asthma look like;
1) Daytime symptoms of wheeze, cough and SOB less than 3 times per week,
2) Not missing any school or work due to asthma symptoms,
3) Exercise and physical activity is not affected by asthma symptoms,
4) Asthma symptoms disturb sleep 1 night per week or less
5) Rescue medication, Salbutamol also known as Ventolin or the blue puffer is used less than 4 times per week.
Unfortunately the survey revealed that 90% of patients diagnosed with asthma are not controlled and they are suffering with symptoms frequently or even constantly.
Where does the problem lie? The survey indicates that 14% of asthmatics admit that they do not use their medications as prescribed by their family physician; this is equal to 336,000 Canadians1. Asthma control medications only work if used on a daily basis therefore if they are not being used as prescribed they can not effectively control the inflammation in the airways of the lungs.
Currently 25% of Canadians living with asthma smoke, vape, or use e-cigarettes1. Inhaling irritants into their airways can cause further inflammation in the airways of the lungs and this can make controlling symptoms harder and often leads to a loss of asthma control.
How can we correct the problem? An increase in knowledge around; asthma as a disease, the medications used to control it and the symptoms that occur when it is not controlled, may go along way to helping Canadians. There is no cure for asthma at this time, but with the right treatment and an asthma action plan; someone living with asthma can identify warning signs that indicate their asthma isn't controlled and then they can take measures to correct this. Every person living with asthma should be able to live a normal life that is mostly symptom free.
The best place to start if you feel your asthma is not controlled is to speak with your family physician. In Morden and Winkler we do have access to certified respiratory educators who can educate patients on their asthma and how to manage it appropriately.
Asthma is a serious chronic disease that still kills 250 Canadians every year, and taking care of your asthma should be taken seriously.
1 - 2016 Asthma Control Report Survey. Leger.