LAHORE - Like other parts of the country World Asthma Day was also observed in the provincial capital on Tuesday. NGOs, doctors, medical associations and other organisations arranged separate seminars to highlight the need to create awareness among the people regarding this disease. This year the day was observed around the world with the theme You Can Control Your Asthma. Director CDC Punjab Dr Mubasher Attique Azhar said some 300 million people currently suffer from asthma. It is the most common chronic disease among children. Asthma death ratio will increase in the next 10 years if urgent action is not taken. He said this while addressing a seminar held under the auspices of Pakistan Medical Society in collaboration with Directorate General of Health, Punjab, at the auditorium of Queens Marry College for Women. Dr Mubasher said that asthma occurs in all countries regardless of level of development. Over 80 per cent of asthma deaths occur in low and lower-middle income countries. For effective control, it is essential to make medications affordable and available, especially for low-income families. He said asthma cannot be cured completely but proper diagnosis, treatment and patient education can result in good asthma control and management. Addressing the seminar chairman PMS Dr Masood Akhatar said those suffering from Asthma and other respiratory diseases are more vulnerable to swine flu, thus it is important to create awareness about this disease to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with swine flue. Dr Masood added asthma is a chronic disease characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. The fundamental causes of asthma are not completely understood. The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are a combination of genetic predisposition with environmental exposure to inhaled substances and particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways, such as indoor allergens (for example, house dust mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture, pollution and pet dander), outdoor allergens (such as pollens and moulds, tobacco smoke, chemical irritants in the workplace, air pollution). He said urbanisation has been associated with an increase in asthma. Other triggers can include cold air, extreme emotional arousal such as anger or fear, and physical exercise. Even certain medications can trigger asthma: aspirin and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and beta-blockers (which are used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions and migraine). The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are inhaled substances and Dr Masood said appropriate management of asthma can enable people to enjoy a good quality of life. Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Khan the representative of WHO in Oman during his address said medication is not the only way to control asthma. It is also important to avoid asthma triggers - stimuli that irritate and inflame the airways. Dr Nargis, Chest specialist, said for some people the symptoms become worse during physical activity or at night. Through appropriate treatment such as using inhaled corticosteroids to ease bronchial inflammation, the number of asthma-related deaths can be reduced. She said that Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, creating a substantial burden to individuals and families and possibly restricting individuals activities for a lifetime. Miss Tayyaba, Mrs Bushra from Queens Marry College also spoke on the occasion.