May 03, 2016
Prevention better than relief for asthma
It's world asthma day, and affected whanau are being told they should look at long term prevention rather than going from attack to attack.
Tristram Ingham, the Asthma Foundation's strategic advisor Maori, says more work needs to be done to understand the underlying causes of asthma and why it's so prevalent in Aotearoa.
Asthma is a chronic condition where lung passages get irritated or inflamed and can overreact to common everyday triggers, causing the air tubes to swell up and spasm.
Some 29 percent of tamariki Maori experience symptoms, and 500,000 New Zealanders regularly use puffers or other preventatives.
"A lot of whanau rely on the blue puffer, the reliever, and that only opens the airways back up, it works for a short time, and unless someone is on a preventer inhaler, they are not really going to be treating the underlying problem. We have to think of it as a chronic health condition, it's not just something that just happens now and then. If you have got asthma, you have got it all the time," Dr Ingham says.
The asthma epidemic needs a holistic response involving Whanau Ora as well as the medical sector.
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