Doctors from Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh in India’s National Capital organised a public awareness session on the occasion of World Asthma Day on Monday. The initiative was taken to deliberate on the rising incidences of one of the most common inflammatory diseases of the airways of the lungs, the chronic condition, Asthma, which is gaining prominence among children and youngsters as well.
The session was organized by Dr Inder Mohan Chugh, Director of pulmonology, Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh. He emphasised the importance of timely detection and medications for the efficient management of Asthma.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India ranks second, following China in the number of mortality rates caused due to chronic respiratory diseases. The data also suggests that over 10 percent of the world’s burden of asthma is contributed by India, out of which 15 percent of them are paediatric cases (5-11 years).
“Pertaining to the fact that the condition (Asthma) cannot be completely cured, thus efficient management of the disease plays a pivotal role in ensuring a better quality of life. Through this opportunity I would like to sensitize the public that timely detection and regular medications are the only way to the management of the condition, thus people with this condition should not refrain from taking their medications. Attributing to a plethora of factors like lack of awareness among the patients and caregivers, lack of access to the right diagnosis and treatment modality, and in some cases, reluctance to accept the diagnosis, are a few major causes of the rise in asthma cases in the country. Patients with severe to moderate asthma have to take long-term medication daily to control the underlying inflammation and prevent symptoms and attacks.” Said Dr. Inder Mohan Chugh, Director- Pulmonology, Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh said in a statement.
During the event, the doctors highlighted that air pollution is the major factor for the growing burden of chronic respiratory diseases in India, majorly attributed to stubble burning and vehicular pollution. In a recently conducted global survey, out of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 cities are from India. Delhi-NCR, Patna, Gwalior, and Raipur, the air has the highest amounts of tiny suspended particles (PM2.5) that penetrate deep into the airways and lungs to cause asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, stroke, and a clutch of other diseases.
The doctors also pointed out that many patients have reservations and misconceptions regarding the use of medications like Inhalers in India.
“Healthy lifestyle and diet also play a major role in maintaining and controlling the condition. If one is allergic to dairy products, it is better to avoid milk and other dairy products. It is first important to know what we get from milk and other dairy products – protein, calcium, and lactose. Soya milk can be used to replace milk if you are not suffering specifically from soy allergies. As we grow older, the body loses its enzymes naturally to break down lactose. Eat a healthy vegetarian diet including green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits, which will substitute for dietary insufficiency. Eat a diet rich in Vitamin C and E, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids,” Dr. Chugh added.
The major risk factors for developing asthma are exposure, especially to infants and the indoor allergens such as domestic mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture, cats and cockroaches, and a family history of asthma. Apart from family history, other factors include environmental factors like exposure to chemicals and air pollutants that trigger the symptoms of asthma.