Asthma awareness is important because asthma still exists. Would you believe that asthma-like symptoms were described in ancient documents going all the way back to 5000 B.C.? It’s true. And despite this long history, there remains a lot about this disease that remains a mystery.
Kids with asthma
Asthma awareness is important because there are still kids who have to explain to their gym teachers why they can’t participate in gym class today, and it’s important to have empathetic and understanding teachers. It’s important because there are schools that don’t allow students to carry their rescue inhalers. It’s important because, while many asthmatic children can manage their own asthma, many others require the help of a responsible, and educated adult. Someone who understands the signs of asthma, and what to do when they spot them.
Asthma awareness is important because every asthmatic should have an asthma management plan, and every asthmatic child should have an asthma management plan for school. These plans help the asthmatic and/or adult what to do when the signs and symptoms of asthma are observed.
Asthma in the workplace
Asthma awareness is important because there remain asthmatics who have to explain to their bosses why they can’t work today. And the fact we need to have understanding teachers and bosses to the plight of asthmatics.
Asthma awareness is important because there are asthmatics who must explain to bosses why they can’t be around people with strong perfumes or colognes, or equipment that produces dust and fumes. Asthma awareness is important because many of the same people who are in powerful positions to reduce air irritants and pollution do not have asthma and are not bothered by these things.
Asthma is an invisible condition
Asthma awareness is important because asthma is an invisible disease and most people do not have it and cannot fathom what it is like. You also cannot manufacture what it’s like. You can explain it to them that it means avoiding asthma triggers. For instance, I used to hang with the guys at our cabin. However, after having a horrible asthma attack a few years ago, I decided not to do this anymore. I explained to my friends why I can’t do this anymore. They understood.
A few months later my friends invited me back to the cabin. They really wanted me to be there, and almost expected it. But I had to explain to them all over again why I couldn’t go. They were disappointed but understood. This is not a knock on my friends, it’s merely an observation. They don’t have asthma. They cannot see asthma. To them, I look just like a normal guy who is making excuses.
Social myths about asthma
Asthma awareness is important because for most of history asthmatics were looked at as people who were just trying to get out of doing normal duties. We were often mocked at and made fun of by our peers, such as I wrote in my post, “Are Asthmatics Nerds?” When asthmatics worked in the fields, when they tended to the horses, they sniffled and sneezed and wheezed.
Because doing normal guy work tended to result in these symptoms, they tended to spend more time with the women than the men. Washing dishes doesn’t cause symptoms. Knitting did not cause symptoms. So, because of this behavior, the impression developed that asthmatics were nervous and anxious. The idea developed that asthma was all in your head, and the treatment was medicine to allay your mind and your nerves.
Asthma awareness is important because, for most of history, asthma was considered a rare disease that was not deadly. In fact, I have recorded 17 times between 1700 and 1940 where a credible asthma physician mentioned this in a medical textbook. In fact, in 1901, Dr. Henry Osler, the father of modern medicine, quipped: “Asthmatics pant to old age.”
Perhaps this was the reason asthma took a backseat to more deadly diseases like diphtheria and tuberculosis until these diseases were controlled by the 1940s. In fact, it was during the 1940’s that a gradual increase in asthma-related deaths were observed by researchers, and this inspired increased awareness in our disease. Yes, it took a spike in asthma-related deaths for our disease to finally gain some attention.
Asthma awareness is important because most of the medicines used to treat asthma today are the same medicines, just reformulations, that have been around since the 1950’s. Usually, when medicines are around for so long they become very affordable. This is not true of asthma medicines, where prices have gone crazy out of control.
Asthma awareness is important because asthma wisdom has taken a 5,000-year leap through time in the past 20 years alone. Researchers have learned that there are over 100 asthma genes and that every asthmatic has a unique combination of these genes. This means that every asthmatic is unique, presenting with unique symptoms and unique asthma triggers.
This has lead to the development of many asthma subgroups of phenotypes. This has helped researchers hone into the answers about our disease. But there is still a lot of work to do. There is still a lot of research to do. And the hope is that as they learn more, they will come up with better medicines, even a potential cure.
Asthma awareness is important because most people don’t have it. In order to gain the funds needed to pay for all this research, people without it will need to get involved. Our history has shown over and over again the greatness that can occur when great minds come together for a good cause.
Asthma awareness is important because there are roughly 340 million people like us worldwide who are living with asthma. Many of us have obtained ideal asthma control thanks to modern wisdom and medicine. However, many more of us seek to obtain better asthma control, maybe even a cure.
I could go on, but I’ll let you continue this discussion. Asthma awareness is important because…