World Asthma Day 2020: The importance of awareness and precaution
Asthma, a chronic disease of the lungs causing breathing problems affects about 1.5 to 2 crore people around the world.Updated: May 05, 2020, 07:14 IST
Asthma, a chronic disease of the lungs causing breathing problems affects about 1.5 to 2 crore people around the world. As per the WHO, about 80%of asthma deaths occur in low and lower-middle-income countries.At least 1 in every 10 asthma patients live in India. It was to improve awareness and care around this condition that the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), a medical guidelines organization, observed the World Asthma Day for the first time in 1998. Since then, 5th May is earmarked as the World Asthma Day every year.
Some symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, coughing, wheezing and a feeling of tightness in the chest and these can vary in frequency and severity. When not controlled and managed on time, the condition can lead to inflammation of airways and breathing difficulties. Whilst asthma cannot be cured, it is possible for people to live life normally with certain precautions and by adhering to medication and treatment.
Asthma Management Plan
The most important step in asthma management is to share all the details with the treating doctor. A comprehensive and documented asthma action plan must be formulated for the patient. A good asthma management plan factors in symptoms, medical history of the patient and his/her family, and the regular as well as emergency (in case of asthma attacks)treatment procedures.
Adherence to medication
As mentioned above, asthma is incurable, but there are medicines that can help keep a patient’s asthma in check and reduce the risk of attacks. What drug to use in what dosage, frequency of medication in a non-attack situation, etc. are things that must be strictly followed. The main objective of asthma management is to prevent the symptoms and attacks that could cause disruption to daily life. Inhalers should be used as prescribed even if the patient has not been experiencing any symptoms at all. The most recommended practice with inhalers is to place them alongside the toothbrush so that the patient uses it unfailingly.
Periodic asthma assessments
Patients must undergo periodic asthma assessments to discuss the condition with the doctor and make any adjustments to lifestyle or habits that might have an impact on them condition.
Avoid the triggers
As a part of the asthma management plan, it is imperative to identify the triggers thatinstigate attacks in a patient and avoid them – for instance, smoking. Staying outdoors in a polluted environment without a mask or dealing with chemicals and allergic substances should also be avoided.
Keep emergency plan handy
While regular asthma medication such as inhalers can keep the attacks under control, they can still happen anytime. Therefore, the emergency medicine to give immediate relief must be kept handy always.
Asthma is a condition that must not be left unchecked and allowed to disrupt a patient’s daily life. A comprehensive asthma management strategy integrating medication with lifestyle changes, can curb attacks and keep the triggers at bay. The most important thing for a patient is to adhere to the action plan and seek help before the condition worsens.
Dr Vishal Sehgal is Medical Director, Portea Medical