Respiratory Therapist and Students go to the State Capitol for World Asthma Day

~ By Jamie Sahli, BS, RRT, AE-C ~

For the past several years, Colorado Respiratory Therapists along with students from local Respiratory Therapy programs set up a booth to celebrate and raise awareness for World Asthma Day.  World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma or GINA for short.  GINA was created as a partnership between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness for public health officials, health care providers and of course, for people living with asthma.  World Asthma Day is held the first Tuesday of May each year across the world.  The Colorado Society for Respiratory Care (CSRC) as well as members from the American Lung Association and Colorado Asthma Coalition join with people across the globe to mark the event.

According to GINA, asthma affects approximately 300 million people in the world, making it one of the most common chronic diseases around the world.  Asthma accounts for approximately 1 in every 250 deaths worldwide.  Its prevalence has expanded rapidly throughout the world over the last few decades and has been troubling to the medical community.  Its causes and treatments are being studied around the world.  It is common in urban areas and as the world urbanizes, asthma rates are expected to rise.  Asthma can be treated and controlled so that people dealing may live a normal life; however there are many medications that have to be taken to control symptoms such as bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids.  This is a struggle for many children and adults that struggle to pay for their meds.  Raising awareness to these issues is key to reducing the overall burden that asthma imposes.

Previous World Asthma Day events have been very successful.  On May 7th, 2013, Respiratory Therapist, Grace Noynay, along with high profile patient advocate, Edna Fiore performed a peak flow test and posed for photos with Governor John Hickenlooper.  He along with members of the Colorado congress recognized the asthma booth and joined in after a busy day of bill signing.  In 2014, therapists and students tested many capitol visitors, including multiple groups of school-aged children prone to the debilitating effects of asthma.

This year’s designated World Asthma Day is Tuesday, May 5th.  With competing space available in the capitol rotunda, the CSRC will get together for the event on Friday, May 15th from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm in the capitol rotunda.  Please mark your calendars and join for a day of education, awareness, and peak flow testing.

Breathing Matters is presented by the Colorado Lung Health Connection: www.lunghealthco.org.


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