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National Asthma Patient Alliance

Asthma Society of Canada 2008 World Asthma Day Fact Sheet
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The Top 10 Asthma Myths

1. "Asthma is all in your head."
FALSE - Asthma is not imagined or faked. It occurs because you have airway inflammation and constriction of the bronchi and bronchioles in your lungs. Triggers such as stress, crying, yelling or laughing can all provoke an asthma attack.

2. "Asthma can be cured."
FALSE - There is no cure for asthma, but there are safe, effective ways to control it so you can live a normal, active life, free of symptoms.

3. "Everyone who has asthma is the same."
FALSE - Asthma varies from one person to another both in its severity and the degree of treatment it requires.

4. "I only have asthma when I have trouble breathing."
FALSE - Asthma is a chronic disease with an underlying inflammation of the airways that causes asthma symptoms. Your asthma has not gone away just because you don't have symptoms. Daily control with anti-inflammatory medication is needed. Left untreated, asthma can be a serious and life-threatening disease.

5. "I only need to take my medication when I have trouble breathing."
FALSE - The chronic inflammation of the airways needs daily treatment with your controller medication. Take your controller medication regularly as prescribed. The benefits of regular use far outweigh any risks.

6. "I can stop taking my controller medication as soon as I feel better."
FALSE - Your anti-inflammatory medication is doing its job, which is why you are feeling better. If you stop taking it, the airway inflammation that leads to attacks may return. Always consult with your doctor before you stop taking your medication.

7. "My child will outgrow her asthma."
FALSE - Asthma is a lifelong condition that will always require attention. Your child's asthma may get less severe as she gets older but it can return at any time.

8. "Steroids are dangerous, so I do not want my child taking them."
FALSE - Steroid controller medications are inhaled, not swallowed, which means they act locally where they are needed and are not absorbed throughout the body. Furthermore, they are corticosteroids, not the anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders. Studies have shown that, when correctly used, inhaled corticosteroids are safe to take over time.

9. "Steroids will stunt my child's growth."
FALSE - Studies have indicated the use of inhaled corticosteroids does not alter normal growth in children. Untreated asthma, however, can result in permanent lung damage and have an adverse effect on normal growth patterns. You should work with your doctor or asthma educator to find the right medications for your child's asthma.

10. "If I have asthma, I have to avoid sports and physical activity."
FALSE - Having asthma does not mean that you or your child should limit physical activity. Many professional athletes have asthma but are able to compete because they have learned to control it. If you have any limitations in your physical activity, your asthma may not be well controlled. Consult with your doctor to assess your asthma control level and determine a proper exercise regimen for you.

Did you know?...

Asthma is a lifelong condition that can be effectively managed, but there is no cure.

Canadian physicians significantly underestimate the extent to which patients' asthma is controlled.

The Asthma Society provides educational intervention and counseling to over 6,000 Canadians with asthma each year.

Education and self-management skills go a long way in helping patients with asthma monitor and manage their condition on a daily basis.

Quick Facts:

Canada has one of the highest incidences of asthma in the world affecting approximately three million people nationally.

Six out of every ten people with asthma do not have control of their condition.

Despite the progress made, approximately 20 children and 210 adults die from asthma each year.

It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of asthma deaths could be prevented with proper asthma education.

The cost of asthma to the Canadian economy is well over $600 million annually.

In Canada, asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism from school and the third leading cause of work loss.

Asthma Society of Canada - July 2017