TIRUCHY: Asthma cases have been on a rapid rise in the past decade. Though asthma is treatable, several patients do not take the treatment properly, causing exacerbation. This, in turn, leads t0 ICU admission and emergency care, according to doctors. The theme of World Asthma Day being observed on May 3 is 'Closing gaps in Asthma care'.
According to doctors, more children have developed asthma in the past 10 years, mainly due to reduced exposure to the outside world. Dr A Nagarajan, pulmonologist, Kauvery Hospital, said, "Children these days don't go out much. Our homes have a clean environment. Their exposure to infection is almost zero. Due to this, they are hyper-allergic to dust, smoke, etc., and are prone to allergic airway diseases like asthma. This is called a clean hypothesis. If one is exposed to infection, you don't develop asthma."
Common triggers for asthma include dust, smoke, pet animals, fumes, perfume and deodorant, among others.
Doctors have urged patients to properly continue their treatment to reduce severity of the disease and to avoid the need for emergency care.
Dr Kamal, asthma allergy and infectious disease physician, said, "Many patients don't finish their treatment properly, which leads to exacerbation and ICU admission. They need to follow the treatment schedule properly. A very small percentage of asthmatic persons are using inhalers. They believe that medications alone would suffice. The lung problems will be cleared if they take the treatment properly."
Doctors have said that the patients should avoid the triggers to keep asthma in check.
"Around 10% of severe asthma cases are uncontrolled. Patients need to check their inhaler techniques, avoid triggers. Most triggers are modifiable, like smoking, dust etc. Obstructive sleep apnea, obesity and gastro esophageal reflux disease also cause asthma. We give counseling to patients and ensure that they are using inhalers. Awareness is important for patients to realise the importance of inhalers and how they are used," said Dr S Suresh Sagadevan, Interventional Pulmonologist, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai.
Stressing on the importance of early asthma treatment, Dr Nagarajan said, "Early diagnosis is very important. Asthma symptoms differ as it is a variable disease. Genetic factors are a cause, and so is exposure to allergy. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, recurrent cough and cold, sneezing, nose blocks, long time for cough and cold to clear. Early diagnosis is the best way to deal with the disease."