Asthma is what I call "traydor na sakit" (traitor disease). It doesn't look too alarming but in reality, it has been the cause of many deaths even among young people. The triggers can happen any time and anywhere -- something you eat, something in the air -- and suddenly your airways start to constrict. You start having difficulty breathing and it creates panic and pressure on the heart as well. Several celebrities in the past died young just because of an asthma episode, including a young model.
At a recent GSK event, I listened to one of the GSK doctors, Dr. Bernadette Arcilla, talk about asthma. It affects about 10.7M people in the Philippines now. 250,000 annual deaths worldwide are attributed to asthma. Of those deaths, majority are 45 years old and older. With children, asthma is the most frequent cause of absenteeism from school, emergency visits and hospitalization. Scary stats. I can remember so many instances when we'd rush to the emergency room of the hospital because one of our kids could not breathe well and would be wheezing. We always had a nebulizer with us at home and on trips. When they were older, they had to be taught to use an inhaler and carry this with them all the time.
But asthmatics are fighting back. And, hopefully, winning the war against asthma. That is a very important inspirational message for so many Pinoys who are similarly affected by asthma. Your life is not curtailed by it. You can still live a meaningful life and engage even in sports in spite of your condition.
At the event, two local celebrities, who were asthmatics, shared about their own battles against asthma -- Kim Chiu and Arnel Pineda of Journey.
Here are videoclips showing just how they are trying to battle asthma, and win over it:
Hopefully, this Win Against Asthma campaign spearheaded by GSK will bring to the forefront a greater awareness and understanding of asthma -- that it is not a debilitating condition, and that people who are asthmatic, with proper treatment and cooperation with doctors and their own personal knowledge on how and when to use the different medicines, can lead the lives they dream of. Just like Kim Chiu and Arnel Pineda.