PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — World Asthma Day is shining a light on access to care through the year’s theme, “Asthma Care for All”.
World Asthma Day is a day to improve awareness about the common lung disease, which affects 25 million Americans.
Dr. Brian Curtis, vice president of medical specialties at OSF Healthcare, said residents of rural and inner-city communities often have worse outcomes than urban and suburban residents.
“And now what is that from? Is it socioeconomic relations or is it access to healthcare? Is it both? And then also you can see some inner city urban areas will also have similar results, and so then you start looking at now is it housing? Is it access to proper healthcare? Is it being able to afford your medications?” he said.
Being educated about asthma treatments is also correlated to better outcomes, said Dr. Curtis.
“Everybody has an asthma action plan on how to respond to their asthma. And so an educational level of knowing how to respond to that. We do know that the better control people have and the better understanding they have of their disease process, the better,” he said.
Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. The disease is controlled by using a rescue inhaler like Albuterol and a controlling medication, usually an inhaled corticosteroid.
If asthma is left untreated, Dr. Curtis said it can lead to limited daily functions, severe lung disease or even death.
It’s important to stay up to date on immunizations, know your triggers and avoid smoking.
Dr. Curtis said 180,000 people are hospitalized each year and 10 people die every day from asthma.