LAHORE - Yet another World Asthma Day will be observed today (Tuesday) with the usual rituals of holding walks, seminars and free medical camps but without concrete measures to check ever increasing pollution, one of the leading causes of asthma.

Like the previous years, the events will be day specific and nothing after that till the next year. There is little or no hope of controlling polluting activities both at the government and individual levels.  WAD is an initiative begun in 1998 by the Global Initiative for Asthma, an organisation that sets medical guidelines for the control of the disease. The purpose of the event, arranged on first Tuesday of May, is to raise awareness of the causes and effects of this bronchial condition, which affects approximately 235 million people worldwide.

At least seven million people are suffering from asthma in Pakistan. The number of patients of bronchial asthma is increasing particularly in big cities like Lahore because of worst air pollution due to traffic and factories’ smoke, large scale digging and cutting of trees for development purposes, burning of garbage and smoking.

WAD focuses on educating the public on what research has found to be the most effective ways of controlling and treating asthma.

Asthma is a chronic infection of the lungs which create problems while breathing. The symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, coughing, wheezing and a feeling of tightness in the chest. These symptoms will change in frequency and severity. When the symptoms are not under control, the airways can become inflamed making breathing difficult. While asthma cannot be cured; the symptoms can be controlled by taking precautionary measures and proper medication. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) stated that the exact causes of asthma were still unknown but factors such as heredity, modern living including carpeted surroundings, use of reupholstered furniture, heaters, humidifiers and air conditioners could trigger asthma attacks. Excessive pollution and severe weather conditions and fumes can also cause asthma. Old people, infants and children are more vulnerable to the disease. Chronic Nasal allergy can also be resulted into asthma. Parental smoking is also a major contributing factor producing asthma, rapid urbanization, industrial and traffic pollution, burning of garbage, overcrowding, environmental degradation is further aggravating asthma suffering.

Experts have advised balanced diet, regular exercise and proper medication to reduce the gravity of this disease. Prevention is better than cure, so people are advised to follow the preventive measure to avoid asthma and its complications. 

PMA demanded the government to control environmental pollution and implement the no smoking ordinance 2002 to reduce the sufferings of the Asthma patients.