You Can Control Your Asthma

Monday, 6th May 2013

On the eve of World Asthma Day, city doctors came together to sensitize the masses on the early diagnosis of asthma and the right treatment to control the condition. Patients of asthma who are not under the right treatment run the risk of asthma attacks which often requires admission to hospital and can even be life-threatening. If asthma is treated as per guidelines, costs of managing asthma could be reduced tremendously both for the individual and the government.

The most effective asthma treatment – Inhalation Therapy is available in India at a price as low as Rs. 4 to Rs. 6 per day which means that a year’s supply of medicine is less than the cost of 1 night’s stay at the hospital. Addressing a press conference organized by Breathefree, a public service initiative from Cipla, doctors reinstated that the lack of awareness on asthma in India prevents it from being diagnosed in the early stages and of the 30 million asthmatics in the country, most are unaware, undiagnosed or are being sub optimally treated for asthma. Further, it has been found that adherence to asthma medication regime is very poor and tends to falter after few months in both children and adults and the rate of non-adherence has been estimated to be around 50%.

Commenting on the current scenario of asthma in India, “Asthma is a chronic disease which requires long-term treatment. Many patients once they feel better stops treatment after some weeks. This can be dangerous since stopping treatment can lead to reactivation of the disease and precipitate an asthma attack. There are many reasons why patients stop medication. These include unnecessary concerns about side effects, myths about inhaler devices, social stigmas and sometimes cost of medication. There are also several psychological barriers which lead to inhibitions such as dissatisfaction with healthcare professionals, inappropriate expectations, anger about one’s condition, underestimation of the severity of the condition and complacent attitude towards health. It is important that we overcome these barriers and understand the importance ofinhalation therapy and adherence to it, if we have to control asthma”.

“It is important to diagnose asthma at an early stage as it helps preserve the condition of the lungs.. Asthma usually manifests itself through symptoms like coughing, tightness in the chest, and wheezing but it is important to consider asthma as a diagnosis particularly if these symptoms are recurrent and consult a doctor at the earliest. Simple tools like peakflow meter are available to diagnose and monitor asthma. Using currently recommended treatment, asthma can be fully controlled and people with asthma can lead a complete active life”.

To further support asthma patients and their families in understanding asthma, its symptoms, the triggers, and to remove the myths associated with the condition and its therapy, an extremely informative website – www.breathefree.com has been created by Cipla. This website will ensure that a chronic condition like asthma is discussed and given importance not only on World Asthma Day but all around the year.

About Asthma
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder of the lungs in which there is inflammation (swelling) of the airways in our lungs. Due to this inflammation, the airways are narrowed and the lungs become vulnerable to various allergens which act as triggers for an asthma attack. Dust, cold, pollen, furry pets, and viruses and air pollutants, and even emotional agitation act as triggers for an asthma attack. When a person comes in contact with a trigger, the inflamed airways are irritated leading to tightening of the muscles and excess mucus production which further constricts the passages, thereby inhibiting normal breathing and this at could even turn fatal.

The usual manifestations of asthma are repeated episodes of chest tightness, difficulty in breathing and cough. In children, asthma often manifests through a single symptom like cough which is more severe at night or early in the morning and remains persistent despite intake of various cough syrups and medications. Asthma symptoms vary from person to person and it is important to watch them carefully for a correct diagnosis by the doctor.

Although asthma is not curable, it is possible to gain complete control over it and lead a normal active life. There are several therapies and forms of treatment for asthma available in the market. However, it has now been accepted globally that the best and safest way to take asthma medication is by inhalation as it reaches your lungs directly and starts acting immediately. But if you are on tablet or syrup, the medication takes time to act as the medicine has to pass from the stomach to the blood and finally to the lungs. This could also result in several side effects. It is to be noted that in Inhalation therapy, the dosage needed is up to 50 times lesser than syrups or tablets and far more effective.

For more information, or story ideas on asthma, please log in to www.breathefree.com/media

About Breathefree
Breathefree is a public service initiative from Cipla which with the support of health professionals aims to reach out to millions suffering from asthma and their families. Breathefree aims to help asthmatics lead fulfilling lives and make them believe that asthma is a disease that can be controlled. Breathefree websites also provides information in 7 regional languages.