What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic and inflammatory respiratory condition that is often diagnosed in childhood. It results from the interaction of genetic tendency, sensitization to allergens, and exposure to "triggers". There is no cure, but it can usually be controlled by minimizing exposure to allergens and irritants, and by proper use of medications.
Asthma is relatively common, affecting an estimated 12% of children and 8% of adults in Canada. Symptoms can include episodes of coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, mucus production and shortness of breath. Some individuals with asthma will have one or more of these symptoms only with a cold or when exercising while others will have seasonal or year-round symptoms. "Attacks" can range from mild to severe and can vary over time in the same individual. Asthma has a significant impact on quality of life and is a leading cause of absenteeism at school and at work. Over two hundred Canadians die each year from asthma.
Physicians have long recognized the importance of education in controlling asthma and this education is best started at a young age. Awareness of asthma and its triggers, avoidance of triggers, and proper use of medications are essential to controlling symptoms. Asthma education emphasizes preventative measures and includes written action plans for patients that allow rapid adjustment of medications when symptoms worsen.
Asthma is a common, chronic condition affecting the airways of the lungs. In Canada 12% of children and 8% of adults have asthma, which is approximately 2.5 million Canadians.
Asthma is characterized by inflammation (redness and swelling of the inside lining of the airways), bronchospasm (a tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways), and excess mucus production in the small airways of the lungs... [read more...]
by Dr. Ross Chang, MD, FRCPC, Vancouver, BC
by James R. Gray, MD, FRCP(C), University of British Columbia
In 1999, the Canadian Network for Asthma Care (CNAC) established a national certification program for Canadian asthma educators – creating the Certified Asthma Educator (CAE). [read more...]
Recently, studies have evaluated a new treatment strategy whereby patients use just one inhaler for their asthma. [read more...]
According to the 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey, 8.4% of the population aged 12 or older reported that they had been diagnosed with asthma. [read more...]
Several sets of Canadian guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma have been published over the past 15 years, dealing with the initial treatment of asthma, add-on therapies in the treatment of asthma and asthma education. [read more...]
by Dr. Harold Kim, MD, FRCPC, Kitchener, ON
According to recent Health Canada surveys, there are serious gaps between how asthma should be treated and how it actually is. The Allergy/Asthma Information Association (AAIA) and concerned government branches, physician groups and corporate partners have come together to offer, direct-to-you, the following information on asthma and its treatment. [read more...]
A handy checklist from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
Canada's asthma guidelines were originally published in 1999. At that time there was little focus on childhood asthma. In the most recent update, paediatric asthma was addressed and the guidelines for children have recently been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal...[read more...]
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