KOCHI: It is one of the most common ailments affecting people and a recent study stated that India has about 10 per cent of the global asthma burden.
The treatment for this ailment has advanced but a section of Kochi-based physicians still recommend Inhaler Therapy (IT) as most effective asthma treatment. They also warn against discontinuing the treatment after sometime.
Dr Jacob Baby of Aster Medcity said asthma is a chronic disease which requires long-term treatment. Many patients, once they feel better, stop taking their inhalers and this can be dangerous since discontinuing treatment means stopping the very thing that is keeping them fit and healthy.
Patients should consult their doctor on each and everything that stops them from not continuing inhalers rather than taking decision which can be dangerous. 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 70 per cent.
Dr Praveen Valsalan, Lisie Hospital, says: “There are many reasons why patients stop inhalers. These include unnecessary concerns about the cost of medication, side effects, myths about inhaler devices and social stigmas. 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 casual attitude towards health.” The most effective asthma treatment, according to Dr Praveen too is Inhalation Therapy.
IT is available in India at a price as low as `4 to `6 a day which means that a year’s supply of medicine is less than the cost of 1 night’s stay at the hospital.
He further adds: “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 for diagnosis, particularly if these symptoms are recurrent. Simple tools like peak flow meter are available to diagnose and monitor asthma for everyone. Using IT as a recommended treatment, asthma can be fully controlled and people with asthma can lead a complete active life”.
Commencement of IT at the earliest helps in controlling the disease, prevention from attacks, preserves the condition of lungs and also improves the overall quality of life. Also IT is quicker because the drug is delivered directly to the place where it is required, i.e. the lungs. The side effects are low and the dosage required is also low comparative to oral medication. They are safe for people of all age groups.