Good morning to our beloved lecturer and my fellow classmate. In our advanced world nowadays, we have discovered about lots kinds of diseases. Among those diseases that have been discovered is asthma. Generally, we knew that asthma is a lung-related disease and it does make breathing become difficult. But did you know that asthma is being thought to be caused by combination of genetic and environmental factors? Did you know that across this entire world the number of people who have been affected by asthma is increasing every day? Do you want to know more why these people are affected by asthma?
Today, I am going to inform you about the life of asthma patient by defining the term, explaining the symptoms of asthma, the risk factors faced by asthma patient and recommending how to treat and avoid this disease by deciding yourself whether this disease should be taken seriously or casually. In my opinion, I am concerned about this issue and did a research about asthma because I want to be able to help my mother who is currently one of the patients that have been affected by asthma. She always had to suffer a lot during rainy days, night and even early in the morning because of the temperature changes in the surrounding.
Moreover, she also had to suffer a several attacks of difficulties to breathe and wheezing. All of these incidents were caused by asthma. So, as the eldest of my siblings and an ex-student from a medical department, I had to do my best to help my mother in any possible ways I can. What is asthma? According to World Health Organization (WHO) which stated in its own website, asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which can vary in severity and frequency from person to person.
In simple words, asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways and makes the breathing difficult. In addition to our general knowledge, taking from the same website, WHO stated about 235 million people currently suffer from asthma which it is the most common disease among children. Without a doubt, this disease is a public health problem because asthma-related deaths are not just occurred in high-income countries, it also occurs in all countries regardless of the level of development.
Furthermore, most asthma-related deaths occur in low- and lower-middle income country. Granted that Malaysia is a middle-income country, we should not just take things lightly when it comes to asthma as it does affect Malaysian citizen. Do you know that asthma is one of the diseases that are currently having high number of patient in Malaysia? Taken from a website, Right Diagnosis from Healtgrade, in Malaysia, it is estimated that about 1. 5 million people have been notably affected by asthma.
As a matter of fact, almost 44 million people in the East Asian/Pacific are suffering from asthma. Thus, asthma is now a worldwide concern. Earlier, I already informed you about the general facts and the concern about asthma, now you need to hear about the signs or symptoms of asthma that being diagnosed by doctors around the world. Written in the February 18th 2007 edition of the Star, the symptoms of asthma are wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing especially during night and early morning. Does these symptoms are the same with other people?
No, these symptoms can be varies among individuals such as for some people, the symptoms may occur several times in a day or week and perhaps the symptoms can become worse during physical activity or at night. Next, after knowing the ways to detect asthma’s symptoms, now I would like to inform you about the risk factors that can cause asthma. Do you know that the strongest risk factors of asthma are the inhaled substances and particles that may provoke allergic reaction or irritate the airways? This statement was stated by WHO in their webpage.
In short, these risk factors can be found in both inside and outside of our home. Other than the inhaled substances, family history can also be the trigger to asthma which I will explain it later. Primarily, these risk factors can be divided by two categories which are allergens and family history. As you can see in the picture, these are where all the allergens were located. First, I would like to let you know about the indoor allergens. The examples of indoor allergens are house dust in bed, carpet and stuffed furniture, pet dander from cats, dogs and rabbits.
If all these allergens are presented in your house, perhaps we have to wear masks inside our house like the family in the picture. Second, let’s take a look at the outdoor allergens. What are the examples of outdoor allergens? As you can see in the slide, the outdoor allergens are pollen and molds. Based on Asthma Management Handbook by National Asthma Council Australia (NAC), sensitization to pollen from grasses, weeds and trees is common in people with asthma and these symptoms can worsen during periods of high pollen counts, such as seasonal changes and after thunderstorms.
These pollen can be carried in the air for miles, without a doubt, making it difficult to effectively avoid exposure. Next is about molds. The people with asthma can be exposed to aerosol molds whenever they are both indoors and outdoors. Indoors exposure usually can associated with wheezing because NAC had stated in their handbook that sensitization to molds (Alternatia species) has been reported to be a strong risk factor for asthma in dry climates. Do you ever experience any difficulties to breathe whenever you were around the people who smoke tobacco or cigarette?
Well, of course everyone will have difficulties because we are not the one that smokes the cigarette. Generally, there is already lots of advertisement that campaigned about the danger of smoking and these tobacco smokes can make the asthma become worsen. Next is about chemical irritants. Have you ever wondered about the things you use every day in your home whether they are dangerous or not? Yes, there are some chemicals are dangerous because they containing strong fumes that can worsens the existing asthma symptoms.
The examples of the chemicals we are using every day are perfume, cleaning solutions, air fresheners, hairsprays, and cooking fumes especially when frying your dishes. Those are the examples when you were at home. What about at workplace? Kathleen MacNaughton in her article “Chemical Asthma Triggers and Irritants; Fumes and Strong Odours” point out that if you have a job that puts you in contact with the chemical asthma triggers, only then the asthma would attack. The examples of job that put you in contact with harmful chemical odours are auto workers, hair stylists, photographic workers and laboratory workers.
These jobs usually encountered with chemical irritants which include vapours, gases and fumes from the chemicals you were using such as acrylates, persulphate, ethylenediamine and formalin or formaldehyde. If you have jobs that I have been listed and you got affected by asthma, occupational asthma is a special name that have been called for the asthma you were affected. Another allergen that can trigger asthma is pollution. As we already informed by the society, pollution is one of the factor that can trigger asthma.
However, what we did not aware of is air pollution does not only occurred outdoor but also indoor. From the picture is the example of where indoor pollution takes place. The next picture shows the examples of outdoor pollution that we currently trying to solve the problem. In addition to the allergens that can trigger asthma, family history can also be the risk factor for asthma. According to National Centre for Biotechnological Information (NCBI) in their own website, they stated that genetics also play an important connective role which asthma can be transferred from parents to children.
NCBI also conducted a search about children that has asthma, which they identified about 33 studies from all geographic regions of the world and concluded that children that affected by asthma with family history is ranging 2 per cent until 22 per cent. Moreover, those children with family history of asthma are sensitive to asthma trigger is ranging about 4 per cent to 43 per cent and suffered for asthma is ranging about 11 per cent to 37 per cent.
Lastly, the treatments that can be received by the asthma patients are through medications and appropriate management that can control asthma attacks. Do you know that asthma cannot be cured and the asthma patients have to live through their life with this disease. This is why there are ways to control asthma attacks such as medication and good management of asthma. The examples of asthma medications are SABA (Short-acting beta? agonists), LABA (Long-acting beta? agonists), Ipratropium bromide, and Theophylline.
For good management of asthma, Dr Norzila Mohamed Zainudin had stated in an article in The Star newspaper, we need to take control of asthma which is to construct an asthma action plan, have a good and healthy diet plan, get a proper exercise for the asthma patient such as breathing exercise which I will show to you the video later, managing the stress of the asthma patient, make sure that asthma patient is stay away from cigarette smoke, reduce asthma triggers in your home and finally, take asthma medication as prescribed by doctor.
Thus, having an appropriate management and medication can help to make asthma patients’ life much better. What have you learned today is that the life of an asthma patient is not as easy as what others’ thoughts and asthma is no longer a disease that can be thought casually but as a chronic disease that can lead to death if no further action is taken. However, by following the treatments that I recommended earlier, a life of asthma patient can be change and they too can live a normal and active life.
Now that you have been informed about asthma, a chronic disease that have been affected the entire world. Perhaps you know better now what asthma patients have to gone through each day and what they need to do to survive each day. In my opinion, now I can use all the knowledge I have gained to help my mother and ease her life a lot more than before since I already know about this disease.
Now that you know about asthma disease, you need to decide what action you can take to help those people around you who have been affected by asthma. I have informed you that asthma is currently a worldwide issue, but perhaps one of you could lend a hand regarding this disease at national level. As a result of this presentation you are more informed about asthma, but you may or may not be a helping hand to those who are needed. My hope is that this speech will inspire you to find out more about this chronic disease.