AsthmaCA.org leads battle against debilitating disease

War on Asthma Starts in California

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Approximately five million Californians have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives and almost three million currently have asthma.*

Each year there are an estimated 189,700 new cases of asthma in California with approximately 93,150 among adults and 96,550 among children.*

Those staggering statistics have led the World Asthma Foundation to declare war on asthma and the battle will begin with a new information-packed website, AsthmaCA.org.

It’s headed up by Bill Cullifer, executive director.

“We’ve launched a campaign to fight this disease which affects the lifestyle and health of too many adults and children,” said Cullifer.

AsthmaCA.org takes aim first in California’s Sacramento and Central Valley regions.

That’s the asthma center of the country, said Amir A. Zeki, M.D. and assistant professor of medicine, pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the Center for Comparative Respiratory Biology and Medicine at the University of California Davis School Of Medicine. He is a board member of the World Asthma Foundation.

Also on the foundation board is Samuel Louie, M.D. and professor of medicine, director of the UC Davis Asthma Network (UCAN), director of the UC Davis Reversible Obstructive Airway Disease (ROAD) Center.

“We will be focusing on the patient in areas where asthma is prevalent,” Louie said. That includes California’s capital city and extends to Bakersfield and beyond.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and nighttime or early morning coughing. Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening.

There is no cure.

However, asthma can be controlled with medication and by avoiding the triggers that cause attacks.

AsthmaCA.org aims to raise awareness about asthma.

“Asthma sufferers, their families and the general public need more information about the disease, its treatment and triggers,” said Cullifer. “AsthmaCA.org can provide essential education and information about outreach programs and can also focus on reducing costs and hospitalizations due to asthma.”

According to a report by California Breathing, 180,000 asthma patients visit emergency departments each year and hospitalizations in 2010 cost more than $1 billion.

“Our goal is to win the war against asthma and release the prisoners from the chains of asthma,” Cullifer said.

* California Breathing, an asthma program of the Environmental Health Investigation Branch of the California Department of Public Health.