May is US Asthma Awareness Month

May is US Asthma Awareness Month

Asthma patients know that springtime brings additional challenges and symptoms. Establishing May as the U.S. Asthma Awareness Month is an initiative to raise awareness of symptom triggers and health risk factors that are critical during this time of the year and throughout the rest of asthma patients’ lives.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 25 million U.S. citizens (nearly 8% of the entire nation’s population) suffer from the condition. The costs associated with asthma care and patients’ absences from work due to illness, are calculated in more than $56 billion every year. An asthma diagnosis might limit physical activity, implicate work or school absences on a regular basis, and frequent emergency room visits.

“Asthma is a lifelong disease that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing,” said Linda Rogers, MD, Mount Sinai Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine and Mount Sinai-National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute’s Director of the Clinical Asthma Program, in a press release. “While there is no cure for asthma, a personalized care plan including appropriate medications and education on triggers and proper care techniques can prevent attacks from occurring, helping patients lead a full and active life.”

An asthma attack can cause the airways and lungs to swell and constrict airflow. Tightened airways might similarly lead to the buildup of mucus in the lungs and further limit air supply. Asthma attack triggers are always unique to every individual but some are more common than others. For instance, tobacco smoke, outdoors air pollution, dust mites, pet dander, idling cars, cockroach allergen, or mold are often found to be asthma triggers among many patients.

Besides researching into the underlying causes of asthma, Mount Sinai is currently using mobile devices to track, educate and monitor asthma patients through specialized mobile apps. As an example, according to the press release, the Asthma Health App developed at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is designed to allow asthma patients to self-monitor their symptoms and triggers, while promoting positive behavioral changes and improving patient adherence to treatment plans. At the same time, the app provides researchers with critical, up-to-date data.

The Mount Sinai Health System is committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. The System has an extensive ambulatory network and range of inpatient and outpatient services from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

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