World Asthma Day – May 2, 2023

World Asthma Day is observed on the first Tuesday of May every year. This year it falls on May 2. The annual event is observed to spread awareness about people suffering from asthma. It is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in collaboration with health care groups and asthma educators. Asthma is a prevalent problem worldwide. Do you know that approximately 25 million Americans have asthma? Asthma is a chronic disease of the airway. Inflammation occurs in the airways that lead to the lungs causing blockage and breathing difficulties.

History of World Asthma Day

Asthma is a common concern, and according to WHO, 262 million people had asthma in 2019, and it caused over 460,000 deaths. The death rate from asthma has nearly doubled since the 1980s, but the condition is not new. There is mention of asthma in scriptures from China in 2600 B.C., and Ancient Egypt also mentions the symptoms of breathlessness and respiratory issues.

Hippocrates (460 to 370 B.C) was the first to describe the condition found in Ancient Greece. Hippocrates was the first to link asthma symptoms to environmental triggers and specific trades and professions. Around 100 B.C. Aretaeus of Cappadocia composed a detailed definition of asthma. It is similar to how we today understand the development of the disease. The ancient Romans also explored the condition. In 50 A.D., Pliny the Elder discovered links between pollen and breathing difficulties. He was one of the first to recommend a predecessor of epinephrine, a quick-relief form of asthma treatment.

In the 19th century, doctor Henry H. Salter made accurate descriptions and medical drawings of what happens in the lungs during asthma attacks. In 1892, one of the co-founders of the Johns Hopkins Medical School, William Osler, noted similarities between asthma and allergic conditions. These include hay fever, as well as the genetic nature of the disease. He also noted specific triggers of asthma such as climate, extreme emotion, and diet. The 1980s saw better comprehension of asthma as an inflammatory condition. It focused on the importance of the immune system. Doctors realized the need to manage asthma even if the symptoms do not occur.

World Asthma Day timeline

2600 B.C.
First Mention of Asthma

Chinese scriptures and Egyptian hieroglyphics mention breathlessness and describe asthma.

460 to 370 B.C)
Hippocrates Mentions Asthma

Hippocrates is the first to describe the condition of asthma in Ancient Greece and the first to link asthma to environmental triggers.

19th Century
Drawings are Made

Henry Hyde Salter makes accurate medical drawings of what happens in the lungs during asthma attacks.

1892
Similarities Between Asthma and Allergies

William Osler notes similarities between asthma and allergic conditions as well as triggers of asthma.

1956
Inhaler Like Hairspray

Inhalers are developed after a girl asked why asthma medicines aren’t found in cans like hairspray.

World Asthma Day FAQs

Why is asthma day important?

It is to raise awareness about respiratory diseases and bring together healthcare professionals to help patients.

Is asthma genetic?

Asthma tends to run in families.

Is there an asthma month?

May is considered asthma awareness month.

How to Observe World Asthma Day

  1. Read up

    Read up and research asthma. Broaden your horizon. Learn things about asthma and how to help someone suffering from asthma.

  2. Spread the message

    Learn and educate others. There is nothing more pleasurable than passing the knowledge on to others.

  3. Be there for someone with asthma

    Help people suffering from asthma as much as you can in your capacity. Donate or volunteer as much as possible.

5 Interesting Facts About Asthma

  1. One in 13 Americans have asthma

    About 8% of adults and 7% of children have asthma.

  2. A major chronic disease in children

    About 5.1 million children under the age of 18 have asthma.

  3. It is more common in women

    Women are three times more likely to be hospitalized due to asthma-related problems than men.

  4. Asthma kills every day

    Asthma kills, on average, 10 Americans per day.

  5. Boys are more likely to have asthma

    8.4% of boys have asthma while 5.5 % of girls have asthma.

Why World Asthma Day is Important

  1. It is a day to spread awareness

    World Asthma Day is observed to spread awareness about asthma. It spreads the message to those unaware of it and illustrates how to help people with asthma.

  2. It is a day to help people

    On this day, we help people suffering from asthma. People come together in a variety of ways like making donations for research and volunteer work.

  3. It encourages unity

    People come together and show the power of humanity. It is a day for humans to show compassion and kindness.

World Asthma Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 3Tuesday
2023May 2Tuesday
2024May 7Tuesday
2025May 6Tuesday
2026May 5Tuesday

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