HELENA – May 7 is World Asthma Day and state officials are hoping to raise awareness about the chronic disease.
According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services(DPHHS), around 1 in 10 people in the state currently have asthma.
“It affects a large portion of Montanans,” said BJ Biskupiak, Montana Asthma Control Program Coordinator, “and one thing we focus on is the control of asthma. About two-thirds of adult with asthma have uncontrolled asthma; about a third of children with asthma say it is uncontrolled.”
Asthma attacks can be debilitating to those affected and even life-threatening in some circumstances.
Some common triggers like tobacco smoke can be easily avoided by those affected by quitting smoking. However, triggers like poor air quality from wildfires and spring pollen can take a lot more effort.
Biskupiak recommends people form an asthma action plan with their healthcare provider to help create a support network in the case of an emergency.
“Those action plans are for not only the patient but those who are also caring for that individual,” explained Biskupiak. “So whether it’s the family, a school, childcare, or even co-workers in an office setting it’s good for them to know what those triggers are and what to do in response to an attack.”
DPHHS offers several resources to individuals and families living with asthma, including free in home asthma education and evaluation.
The Montana Asthma Home Visiting Program has reports that upon completion, the percent of enrolled children with good inhaler technique increased from 29% to 94%, the percent having an asthma action plan increased from 35% to 92%, and the percent of children having symptoms on all 30 days of the last month decreased from 16% to 2%.
More information about the Montana Asthma Control Program can be found on their website here. https://dphhs.mt.gov/asthma