As May is a peak season for people with asthma and allergies, the month is marked as Asthma Awareness Month to educate patients, family, friends, co-workers and others about this major noncommunicable disease (NCD), affecting both children and adults. According to National Family Health Survey, India, around 30 million people in India suffer from asthma with a prevalence of 2.4% in adults aged >15 years and between 4% and 20% in children.

Asthma is caused due to inflammation and narrowing of the small airways in the lungs and its symptoms could range from cough to wheeze, shortness of breath and chest tightness. According to the World Health Organization, inhaled medication can control asthma symptoms and allow people with asthma to lead a normal, active life.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Surendra K Chikara, Founder and CEO of Bione, revealed, “It is important to look out for early signs of asthma before the symptoms worsen. Some of them include frequent coughing at night, shortness of breath and coughing after exercise. A person’s diet heavily impacts their gut microbes, which help in the absorption of various nutrients required for major bodily functions. This is why it is crucial to eat a personalised diet unique to your gut health. Scientific findings indicate a link between a person’s gut microbiome and lung immunity. An imbalance in bacteria in the gut leads to altered immune development and inflammatory responses which influences asthma development.”

Echoing the same, Dr Mukesh Batra, Founder of Dr Batra's Group of Companies, shared, “Asthma can be a major setback for many people as it interferes with daily activities and can also lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. In children, it is one of the main reasons to miss school. It is a psychosomatic disorder - triggered as much by allergens as by dysfunctional relationships and stress. To treat asthma effectively, you need to treat its root cause. Symptoms of asthma vary from person to person but the most common symptoms that can be noted in individuals are shortness of breath, chest tightness/pain, wheezing when exhaling (which is a common sign of asthma in children), trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu.”

Pointing out to a study which confirms that 1 out of every 10 Asthma patients in the world are from India and that its prevalence in children is far more disappointing, Dr Mukesh Batra highlighted that according to among India’s 1.31 billion people, about 6% of children and 2% of adults have asthma. He said, “We have had patients with asthma switch to homeopathy as they have seen a significant benefit both in terms of outcome and safety. Usually, steroidal nebulizers or anti-inflammatory sprays that are used to prevent asthma symptoms can cause side effects like a sore mouth, nosebleeds and oral thrush (an infection that can have long-lasting and damaging effects on children and adults).”

He added, "Homoeopathy offers effective treatment which is 100% safe and has zero adverse reactions. A Lung Function Test is a hospital-grade, accurate and scientific test that is computerised, painless and will help patients assess their lung strength, volume and breathing capacity more frequently to keep a check on their lung function. A Homeopathic Nebulizer is a device that quickly administers homeopathic medicines to give faster and augmented results in a natural and side-effect free way and helps the homeopathic medicine reach directly to your airways to treat your asthma faster and effectively.”

Debunking some myths about asthma, Dr Surendra K Chikara listed:

Myth #1: Individuals who have asthma should not exercise

Fact: Moderate exercising with yoga is exceptionally important to maintain good health. To avoid potential flare-ups, make sure to warm up by stretching, before and after exercise.

Myth #2: Asthma only affects children

Fact: Although asthma affects a large proportion of children, it is also carried into adulthood by many. Some people might experience asthma for the first time as adults.

Myth #3: Asthma medication is only taken during an asthma attack

Fact: While there are quick-relief medicines that act rapidly to provide relief during an attack, other controller medicines are prescribed by doctors to prevent these attacks from taking place.

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