World Asthma Day: NIH Research Advances Continue To Help Asthma Sufferers

asthma word cloud( — The first Tuesday in April is recognized as World Asthma Day. This year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) joined with public health officials, health organizations, and patient groups around the world to recognize World Asthma Day.

As NIH’s leading supporters of asthma research, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) all renewed their commitment to advancing studies that will help improve asthma prevention, diagnosis, and management. Their diverse programs provide a critical foundation for improving outcomes for patients with asthma. Each of the institutes focuses on a fundamentally different aspect of asthma, and they work closely together to coordinate their research programs. Their goal is to make this year’s theme, You Can Control Your Asthma, not just a slogan but a reality.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, affecting more than 17 million American adults and 7 million children under 18 years of age. Asthma disproportionately affects minorities, people with lower incomes, females, and children. The disorder is characterized by mild to life-threatening episodes of airway narrowing and obstruction, causing wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Asthma has no cure, but daily preventive treatment can enable individuals to manage their symptoms and lead active lives.

As the lead NIH institute focusing on how environmental factors impact human health, NIEHS is working to understand how exposures to environmental agents trigger diseases such as asthma, and how we can prevent, diagnose and treat these diseases.