Asthma Disease Overview

Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person.

About Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person.1

Find out about the global burden of asthma and its impact on patients below.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a heterogeneous disease, usually characterized by chronic airway inflammation. It is defined by the history of respiratory symptoms such as wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough that vary over time and in intensity, together with variable expiratory airflow limitation.2

Asthma is a serious global health problem affecting all age groups. Its prevalence is increasing in many countries, especially among children.2

 Prevalence

  • WHO estimates that 235 million people currently suffer from asthma.1
  • Asthma is the most common non-communicable disease among children.1

The burden of asthma

Recurrent asthma symptoms frequently cause sleeplessness, daytime fatigue, reduced activity levels and school and work absenteeism.1

Almost 9 out of 10 asthma patients make regular adjustments to their lives, and miss out because of their condition3

What could your patients be missing out on?

Reducing the asthma burden

Although asthma cannot be cured, appropriate management can control the disease and enable people to enjoy a good quality of life.1

The long-term goals of asthma management are to achieve good symptom control, and to minimise future risk of exacerbations.2

  • Short-acting medications can be used to relieve symptoms, while medications such as long-term inhaled steroids are needed to control asthma.2
  • People with persistent symptoms must take long-term medication daily to control the underlying inflammation and prevent symptoms and exacerbations.2

References:

  1. World Health Organization. Asthma Fact sheet no. 307. Updated November 2013. Available at  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs307/en/ (accessed October 2015).
  2. Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention (updated 2015). www.ginasthma.org
  3. Dale P et al. European Respiratory Society Annual Congress. 2011; Poster P4947.