There are 300 million asthmatics worldwide with 1/10th of those residing in India. According to World Health Organisation’s ambient air pollution database thirteen of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India.
The air in Delhi, Patna, Gwalior and Raipur 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.
Asthma attacks all age groups but often starts in childhood. It is a disease characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person.
This condition is due to inflammation of the air passages in the lungs and affects the sensitivity of the nerve endings in the airways so they become easily irritated. In an attack, the lining of the passages swell causing the airways to narrow and reducing the flow of air in and out of the lungs.
Asthma spreading it's roots
Experts are struggling to understand why asthma rates worldwide, on average, are rising by 50% every decade. “Some blame it on hygiene hypothesis, which holds that children with lower exposure to bacteria and viruses in early childhood do not develop a robust immunity,” says Dr Mehal Shah, consultant pulmonologist at Mumbai’s Saifee, Bhatia and Wockhardt hospital.
Other triggers include sudden overuse and misuse of antibiotics, indoor and outdoor air pollution, pollen, food colour and additives, obesity, smoking, second-hand smoke, poorly ventilated homes and workplaces (10% of adult asthma is work-related), cold weather, exercise and stressors such as domestic violence and even relationships breaking down.
Inhaled corticosteroids have been recognized and widely accepted as the mainstay of asthma management till date.
The goal of treating asthma lies in controlling the disease. And the most effective way to control asthma is through Inhalation Therapy, which is available in India at a price as low as INR 4 to INR 6 per day which means that a year’s supply of medicine is less than the cost of one night’s stay at the hospital.
People need to gain awareness regarding on this rising chronic disease and acquire authentic information for medical care.