Sunday, May 08, 2016

GSK Celebrates World Asthma Day with ASTHMALAYA Campaign

Did you know that 98 percent of Filipino asthma patients continue to lack proper treatment? According to the Global Asthma Report, an estimated 300 million people worldwide are affected by asthma. In the Philippines, there are approximately 11 million or 1 out 10 Filipinos who suffer from this debilitating condition. Incurable, asthma burdens patients with restrictions that prevent them to live life to the fullest.

are you part of the 98% of patients who has uncontrolled asthma?
A study covering the Asia Pacific showed that it is quite common for people to limit their activities due to asthma. In fact, an average of 44.7% of respondents reported that normal physical activity was compromised, and 37.9% were convinced that their choice of job or career was limited. On the other hand, 52.7% of the respondents said that sports and recreation were affected, and 37.6% believed their lifestyle was restricted while almost 50% reported sleep disturbances.

Dr. Melvin Pasay, a pulmonologist and GSK's Medical Affairs Manager, described asthma as "a recurring inflammatory disorder in the airways of breathing, which undergoes variable expiratory flow and reversible bronchoconstrictions. In people with asthma, the airways are chronically inflamed. Certain triggers can make the inflammation worse and cause a narrowing of the airways."

doctors answer questions about asthma
Some of the common symptoms are constant wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing often late at night or early in the morning. Triggers for asthma include dust, changes in weather (often cold), animals (pet hair in particular), exercise, tobacco smoke and stress.

"A lot of asthma patients have resigned and became ‘prisoners’ to their condition. Many seem to have created imaginary cages and locking themselves up with lifestyle restrictions. They are assuming that frequent symptoms, exacerbations and lifestyle limitations are inevitable consequences of having asthma - unaware that their condition can be controlled," observed Dr. Pasay.

doctors sign a pledge to help patients achieve asthma control 

To date, the cause of asthma is unknown. However as shared by Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Inc. (PSAAI) President, Dr. Carmela Kasala, some of the predisposing factors to consider include genetic history (personal history or first degree relative) with asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema; weight and smoking history. She gave sufferers hope that while there is also no known cure for asthma, this serious chronic disease can be controlled and effectively treated. "By establishing a strong partnership between a patient and his doctor, results showed that asthma can be controlled."

Unfortunately, 98% of Filipino asthma patients have uncontrolled or only party controlled medical conditions. "This means that asthma patients will only use medication when they have attacks believing that as long as there are no attacks they will be okay," revealed Dr. Sylvia Yang, World Asthma Day committee chair of Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP). As such, they believe that it is enough that they have available medicines to be taken on an as-needed basis."

members of the media were also encourage to sign pledges to
help spread the word that asthma can be controlled through proper treatment
Furthermore, regular visits and consultations with doctors become less as children grew up and had lesser asthma attacks. Most patients instead start to rely on peers, family, and even online resources to provide limited information and possibly, sub-optimal treatment for their condition. This results to underestimating the condition, which leads to poor asthma control.

Admittedly, the cost of treatment hinders patient compliance but, the truth is, uncontrolled asthma can lead to higher odds of hospitalization and emergency room visits thus becoming more expensive due to direct medical cost like hospitalization or medications and indirect cost like time lost from work, overall productivity, or even premature death.

advocates who support educating patients about asthma 
This May, as we commemorate World Asthma Day, an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world, GSK Philippines unveils the ASTHMAlaya Ka Ba Talaga? campaign -- a disease awareness initiative that also seeks to encourage asthma patients to be more proactive in consulting their doctors so they can control the condition.

How do you know if you need asthma control? Look for these four signs: 1) daytime asthma symptoms (coughing or wheezing) more than twice a week, 2) waking up at night due to asthma, 3) using an asthma reliever more than twice a week, and 4) having any activity limitations due to asthma. If you experience these, you may have uncontrolled asthma and need to immediately consult your doctor.

PCCP, PSAAI, and GSK representatives
The celebration, held in Makati Shangri-La, was participated by members of the PCCP and the PSAAI who are one with the advocacy of furthering awareness and urgency among patients to consult their doctors for proper asthma control.

According to Dr. Pasay, "Our message is clear: You don’t have to serve a life sentence of limitations because of Asthma, be in control and be ASTHMALAYA!"

For more updates, visit, or for more in-depth information, you can check out GSK’s website

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