Asthma has no cure. But patients can lead a quality life with proper treatment and routine check-ins with health professionals, say health experts.
This year's World Asthma Day theme is 'You can control your asthma.' Asthma is a chronic, long-term condition that varies in severity. It can be a serious and even life-threatening problem. Caused by the swelling of airways, asthma can hinder day-to-day life by limiting activity and reducing quality of life. Asthma can be called a condition of management.
According to the Global Asthma Report, asthma usually develops during early childhood. Experts from International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), in Paris, said over three-quarters of children developing the condition before age seven no longer have symptoms by age 16.
"Asthma can develop at any stage in life, including adulthood, and can become worse. Therefore, in order to stay healthy, those diagnosed must always be aware of their individual case and the fact that it can become more serious at any point," they said.
Dr. Surya Kant, Head of Pulmonary Medicine Department of King George's Medical University (KGMU) said that incidence of asthma is on the rise, mostly due to rapid industrialization, modernization and urbanization and changing life styles.
"There is still very poor awareness about asthma. The first myth is that an asthma patient has to lead a compromised life. But asthma, if managed properly, does not interfere with the quality of life. Many sports persons and many of our cinema heroes are living with asthma. An asthma patient is as fit as any other healthy human being and can take part in all sports and activities. This message needs to go across to the public," Dr Kant said.
He also noted that the ideal treatment for asthma is still the inhalation therapy, which is targeted delivery of very small doses of the medicine directly to the lungs.
"People think that one gets into the habit of using an inhaler. But we must remember that habit is different from addiction. So one may get habituated to an inhaler but cannot get addicted to it. Using an inhaler is same as the habit of brushing our teeth, taking bath, eating breakfast, etc. The ideal treatment for asthma is still the inhalation therapy which is targeted delivery of very small doses of the medicine directly to the lungs. If your bronchial tubes are weak, use an inhaler, same as you would use spectacles if your eyes are weak. This has no side effects even in long term," he added.
Dr. Rama Kant, WHO Director-General's Awardee, said that staying away from tobacco use in any form and controlling and managing asthma well are good ways to stay healthy and live a full productive life.
"Tobacco smoking irritates the airways which makes your asthma symptoms worse. In addition tobacco use in any form can cause life-threatening diseases and premature death. If you are exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis, either because you smoke yourself, or because you're around smokers, you will probably need more reliever medicines too because you'll be having more symptoms," he said.
Ref: Rahul Kumar Dwivedi, Citizen News Service (CNS)