Soon, Asthma Will No Longer Be A Burden Anymore
Digital healthcare solutions are changing the way we approach healthcare — new management of asthma can enable patients to enjoy a better quality of life.
235 million people are currently suffering from asthma. And 250,000 people die annually from it. Statistically, this makes the current pandemic of COVID-19, currently at 97,870 cases and 3,347 deaths (as of writing), feels insignificant.
Most asthma-related deaths occur in low and lower-middle-income countries and is a public health problem in all countries regardless of their level of economic development. Asthma is oftentimes under-diagnosed and under-treated, thus creating a substantial burden to individuals and families and often restricts individuals’ activities for a lifetime.
Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. For some people, asthma can be a minor nuisance but for others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily life and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Some of the symptoms of asthma include but are not limited to: shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, a whistling or wheezing sound, and coughing. For some people, asthma can flare up and trigger in certain situations, e.g. exercising, occupational (triggered by fumes or dust), and allergy (airborne substances, such as pollen or mold spores). Recurrent asthma symptoms frequently cause sleeplessness, daytime fatigue, reduced activity levels, and school and work absenteeism.
The Current Treatment and Prevention For Asthma
Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. Right now, treatments for asthma, which is a chronic disease, rely heavily on the solutions that treat acute diseases — doctor visit (diagnosis) and medication.
Diagnosis for asthma usually starts with a physical exam where the doctor gives you a pulmonary test, followed by additional tests such as X-ray, allergy testing, and sputum examination. Then, depending on the severity of your asthma — mild, moderate, server — if diagnosed, patients will be given medications to treat it. Medications fall into three categories: Long-term (e.g. inhalers, modifiers, or pills), quick-relief (e.g. beta-agonists or Atrovent), or allergy (e.g. allergy shots or Xolair).
Although it is impossible to prevent asthma, appropriate management can control the disease. As of now, most patients follow a detailed asthma action plan created by their doctors. Patients were also trained to identify and avoid asthma triggers to minimize the severity and frequency of the attack. Some have also learned to monitor their breathing and take their medications as prescribed.
If this method works, why do we still have 250,000 deaths every year?
The Emergence and Adoption of Digital Healthcare
The advancement of science and technology in the 21st-century have led to the evolution and revolution of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and smart software apps. These created amazing innovations such as digital healthcare to help tackle the epidemic of chronic diseases like asthma, which is better than using the traditional way.
Propeller Health, for example, has made great strides in using digital healthcare, specifically digital therapeutics (DTx), in this category. They have helped over 70,000 people with asthma or COPD manage their condition in partnership with their healthcare provider.
Propeller Health proves that digital healthcare is increasingly being adopted by medical organizations worldwide and is fast becoming the 21st-century solution to replace the traditional healthcare system that has failed.
What Does This Mean For PiCO GO?
As we have repeatedly explored in past articles, DTx is the future of medical innovation. With PiCO GO, we integrate everything we’ve learned from PiCO Home (environmental sensors such as PM 2.5, VOCs, etc…) and add biometric sensors (e.g. heart rate) to make this a revolutionary DTx that can be used to treat childhood asthma.
As chronic disease like asthma requires constant intervention — behavioral change to create a better lifestyle — our intervention features will be greatly beneficial to those patients. Our dashboard and smart mobile app allow patients to better collaborate with their doctors to track signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed. PiCO GO will give both patients and doctors all the tools they need.
As a wearable DTx, PiCO GO is proud to be part of this growing industry movement and will help millions of children.