Few Important Facts about ASTHMA:
ASTHMA, an often-misunderstood disease that affects more than 20 million people in India which is almost 10% of the global burden. Here are a few facts one should know about Asthma.
1. Asthma is serious – There is tendency to downplay the sufferings from asthma and attribute symptoms to some unrelated things resulting in undertreatment of asthma leading to its inappropriate control. Many who experience a life-threatening attack had previously been diagnosed with mild asthma and have only received some SOS medication without proper investigation.
2. Most patient’s asthma is not as well controlled as they think. If you use your quick-relief bronchodilator(Salbutamol) inhaler more than two times a week, wake up with symptoms more than two times a month, your asthma is not under control, and you should go to your pulmonologist for re-evaluation.
3. Asthma is more than just coughing and wheezing. These symptoms are a result of underlying lung inflammation. Since you can’t feel or hear this ongoing inflammation, it’s important to take your an anti-inflammatory controller medication every day, if prescribed, even when you’re feeling well.
4. Asthma medications are not addictive; the corticosteroids used to reduce inflammation are not the same as damaging anabolic steroids. They are safe even for long term use under pulmonologist’s guidance.
5. Asthma is not just a childhood disease; it can appear at any age and last even for life. Asthma can also be situational – sparked by allergies, exercise or pregnancy, etc. Symptoms can arise due to a cold or URTI.
6. Children may not “outgrow” asthma. Your immune system changes throughout your lifetime, and your asthma will, too. Symptoms may ease and go into remission, but the danger of lung inflammation remains and often reappears in adulthood, especially in response to hormonal changes.
7. People with asthma should not be afraid of exercising or participating in competitive sports. You may need to premedicate and spend time warming up and cooling down, but strengthening your lungs and heart is always a good idea. Many professionals, elite and Olympic athletes have asthma.
8. More than 70 percent of people with asthma also have allergies, and the two are closely linked. Exposure to things you are allergic to – such as pollen, mold, pet dander and dust mites – increases lung inflammation and triggers coughing and wheezing. If you control allergies through avoidance, medication or immunotherapy, you often control asthma.
9. Exposure to passive smoke and air pollution during early childhood or the mother’s pregnancy increases a child’s risk of developing asthma. Do not allow others to smoke in your home or car, and teach your child to keep away from secondhand smoke.
10. Each person’s asthma is unique and will respond to treatments differently. New diagnostic and treatment modalities are making a difference in the lives of people with severe, difficult-to-treat asthma. Talk with your pulmonologist about your symptoms and medications, he will be able to tell you about how effective is your asthma control.