Alarming Increase in Asthma
Posted: Monday, May 04th, 2009 | Views: 17729
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New study shows prevalence has doubled in last 5 years
Recent death of a school girl in Delhi should serve as a wake up call
As the world observes Asthma Day 2009 on May 5, parents in Pune have a serious cause for worry. A new study by Chest Research Foundation (CRF) has revealed that in the city of Pune, within a matter of five years, the number of children suffering from asthma has almost doubled.

Today we are living in an environment conducive to asthma and allergies with factors like lifestyle, food habits, obesity, lack of exercise and urban indoor air pollution compounding it. Hence more and more people are likely to have the disease.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world today, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide and about 25-30 million in India.
Asthma usually begins in children and is characterized by recurrent breathing problems and symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma symptoms vary over time, and also from individual to individual.

What is encouraging is that, with proper treatment most asthma patients can achieve good control of their disease. Asthma control means no, or very minimal symptoms, and very infrequent asthma attacks. A person whose asthma in under control can go to work or school, excersie and participate fully in life without any hinderances.

But majority of asthmatics in India have a poor fate. Myths, inadequate information and a general lack of awareness among the people make the public neglect the disease. the recent death of a 17 year old child in a school in Delhi due to an asthma attack is an example of this. At the heart of this sad situation is a paradox. Even though patients in India have access to modern medicines which are given through inhalers and affordable medicines, proper diagnosis and treatment is sporadic at best.  Though we have enough scientific knowledge and the right medicines, asthma remains a condition that is wrongly diagnosed and poorly managed.

'Sadly, most children are still being denied the benefits of inhalation therapy, the first and the best line of defense against asthma, thanks to ignorance and myths. Inhalers are recommended and most widely used form of treatment world over. We may not yet have a cure for asthma, but we do have the inhalers to make a normal, active, symptom-free life possible even with asthma. It is up to us to arrest the growth of asthma throgh education, avoidance of risk factors and proper management' a doctor concludes.
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