With World Asthma Day tomorrow, I’ll be blogging about awareness all part of this week. Today, the theme is Asthma Worldwide and based on GINA’s Burden of Asthma report. You can access the entire pdf through the link here, but I’m throwing out my usual quick and easy summary.
First, my favorite passage:
The burden of asthma in many countries is of sufficient magnitude to warrant its recognition as a priority disorder in government health strategies. Particular resources need to be provided to improve the care of disadvantaged groups with high morbidity, including certain racial groups and those who are poorly educated, live in large cities, or are poor. Resources also need to be provided to address preventable factors, such as air pollution, that trigger exacerbations of asthma. [emphasis mine]
Now the statistics:
- Current worldwide asthma estimate: 300 million.
- Project possible estimate for 2025, considering population growth and increased urbanization: 400 million.
- Worldwide, approximate asthma deaths: 1 in every 250 deaths.
- Highest asthma rates by country (first 15):
- Isle of Man
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- Costa Rica
- United States
Here’s where it gets really scary for the U.S., though. Although Americans have better access to medications, treatments, and hospitals (even despite our health-care crisis) than those in poorer countries do, our asthma death rate doubled from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, highlighting one of the report’s global recommendations:
Recognise asthma as an important cause of morbidity, economic cost, and mortality worldwide.
In other words, get people to stop thinking and saying, “But it’s just asthma.”
Only on a large scale.
Because beyond the daily burden of asthma, the cost of inhalers and other meds, the long-term effects of oral steroids, and the overall annoyance factor of dealing with an invisible chronic illness, there’s this: asthma kills. And it kills more often than people realize.