Debunking common asthma myths

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
May 12, 2023 07:34 AM IST

Asthma is often under-diagnosed and un-treated due to several myths and misconceptions among patients. Here are some common myths and facts about the disease

Chronic respiratory conditions are on rise with drastic decrease in the quality of air we breathe, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to dictate the health discourse and among the chronic respiratory conditions, asthma is the most common condition, affecting both adults and children. It is a chronic respiratory disease that causes trouble in breathing, chest pain, cough and wheezing and according to Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, it is estimated that India is home to over 30 million asthmatics, accounting for 13.09% of the global burden.

Debunking common asthma myths (Freepik)
Debunking common asthma myths (Freepik)

While the world is getting over from the aftermath of Covid crisis, it is time to shift the focus on this controllable respiratory condition as asthma is often under-diagnosed and un-treated, especially in most countries, due to continued existence of several myths and misconceptions amongst the patients that pose difficulty in diagnosis and right treatment. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Vigyan Mishra, Chief of Lab at Neuberg Diagnostics, insisted that we must work towards closing the asthma gap by constantly spreading awareness and exploding myths and highlighted some of the common myths and facts about the disease:

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  • Myth: Inhalers, nebulisers are strong, habit forming therapy

Fact: Inhaler medication need much smaller doses, has fewer side effects, and is safer for long-term use. Unfortunately, asthma patients prefer oral medications than inhaler medication today. This is largely due to the unfamiliarity and lack of know-how about proper use of inhalers. When they are used as advised by the doctor, can notably improve patient’s managing asthma as compared to oral medications.

  • Myth: Asthma can be managed only with a balanced diet

Fact: There is almost no medical evidence diet can treat or manage asthma. While a balanced diet can help patients perk up their health conditions, however there is no evidence directly linking diet to the treatment of asthma. It is definitely a good idea for the asthma patients to make sure optimal intake of nutrients and vitamins, to keep up the good health but correct medication as given by the doctor is the mainstay of the management

  • Myth: Asthma lessens with age

Fact: Asthma can be proscribed and treated if it is diagnosed at an early age however, it is not necessarily curable. Even if the symptoms subside, Asthma may persist after a few days, months or years mainly due to the common triggers of the disease. Asthma can be best managed through regular treatment as doctor recommendation and it is vital to avoid the triggers during any stage of life.

  • Myth: Asthma patients should not exercise and must avoid physical activities

Fact: Exercise helps in relieving inflammation and reducing the symptoms of asthma however, asthma patients need to check with their doctor before going for any form of exercise.

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