300 million people suffering from asthma: WHO - The New Indian Express

300 million people suffering from asthma: WHO

Published: 06th December 2012 09:19 AM

Last Updated: 06th December 2012 09:19 AM

Allergic diseases are escalating to epidemic proportions worldwide and 30-40 percent of the world’s population is now affected by some form of allergy.

According to an estimation by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 300 million people have asthma worldwide, a figure that could increase to 400 million by 2025. “In Asia alone, asthma numbers have peaked up from 0.8 to 29 percent now,” said Prof. Ruby Pawankar, president, World Allergy Organisation (WAO).

The WAO will organise its second International Scientific Conference (WISC 2012), in Hyderabad from December 6, Prof. Ruby said here on Wednesday at a press conference. Allergic specialists from more than 80 countries will participate in the conference.

She added that there was a dire need to bring multi-disciplinary organisations together to combat allergies in India and the world. “We need to work together and bring down the numbers, in order to prevent allergies from affecting people across the world,” she said.

Prof. Ruby said that the myths about asthma should be exposed, a disease which people have claimed to provide a cure. “Asthma is a genetic disease, and there is no cure. However, there are ways to control it. Many sports persons are also affected by it, but with the help of inhalers and other medicines, they can keep a check over it,” expounded Dr. R Vijay Kumar, a pulmonologist from Yashoda Hospital, Secunderabad.

Referring to the controversial ‘fish medicine’ given by a family to cure asthma, both Dr. Kumar and Prof. Ruby stated that, such cures were not scientifically proved. “Medicine is science, and such a cure is not backed by the scientific community. If that person can scientifically prove that his medicine can cure asthma, then he deserves a nobel prize,” she ascertained.

Prof. Giorgio Walter Canonica, an allergy expert from Italy and a member of WOA, informed that by 2020, one out of two kids in the world will be affected with allergic rhinitis, a group of symptoms affecting the nose.  

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