Asthma Affects Millions of Mexicans
On May 3, national and international organizations observe World Asthma Day to raise awareness of this chronic condition that affects the airways in the lungs. Globally, about 235 million people suffer from this condition and in Mexico, it affects 10-12 percent of the population, especially minors.
Asthma is a condition in which the patient’s airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus, which can lead to difficulties breathing and trigger coughing, a whistling sound when breathing out and shortness of breath. Asthma affects people of all ages but often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults. Asthma symptoms can turn into an attack when symptoms worsen due to asthma triggers such as pollen, exercise, viral infections or cold air.
It is estimated that in Mexico there are between 12-15 million patients suffering from asthma, almost 10 percent of the population. The rate climbs to 12.5 percent among children. In 2016, asthma was one of the top 10 leading causes prompting people to use health services, especially emergency and outpatient services. Asthma prevalence varies widely across regions, affecting patients from Yucatan, Tabasco, Veracruz and Guerrero to a greater extent.
Globally, of the 235 million people who suffer from this disease, 10 percent live with severe asthma that causes depression in 25 percent of cases and anxiety in almost 40 percent, according to Salud Justa. Despite symptoms, it is common for patients with severe asthma to spend up to seven years without being seen by specialists, said Salud Justa. Those suffering from asthma often use unproven treatments to treat the condition, which must change to improve their quality of life.
There is currently no cure for asthma but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control and limit the disruption to the patient’s daily life. Now, about 80 percent of asthma cases can be managed through treatment, said Novartis. Long-term medication, such as inhaled corticosteroids, can relieve symptoms and control asthma progression, explained the company.
Four months ago, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new asthma treatment: Tezspire (tezepelumab-ekko), an injectable drug that is administered every four weeks by a healthcare professional.
In addition to pharmacological treatment, the patient must also avoid stimuli that can trigger inflammation of the airways. With medical support, every asthma patient should learn what triggers to avoid.