More than 80% of asthma cases in India are undiagnosed, which, if left untreated, can worsen over time, said experts on Tuesday.
World Asthma Day is an annual event observed on the first Tuesday of May, aimed at raising awareness about asthma, a chronic respiratory disease affecting millions worldwide.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects 339 million people globally. It causes airways in the lungs to become inflamed and narrow and produce excess mucus, leading to breathing difficulties, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing.
Speaking to IANS, Manisha Mendiratta, HOD & Senior Consultant - Pulmonology, at Sarvodaya Hospital, Faridabad, said, "The prevalence of asthma in India is around 3%, though more than 80% of patients remain undiagnosed" in the country.
The doctor added that the primary reasons are the lack of proper resources, infrastructure, acceptance, and ignorance about the disease.
Moreover, "about 70% of patients with severe asthma are also not properly diagnosed as suffering from a severe disease. The reason is lack of awareness among patients, unwillingness to seek medical help, and many doctors, especially in smaller towns, lacking the diagnostic tools for asthma," Mendiratta said.
There is currently no cure for asthma but advances in medical research show promise for effectively managing the condition. But smart inhalers, immunotherapy, biologic medications, bronchial thermoplasty, and virtual reality therapy are some innovative treatments that can help manage and control asthma symptoms.
"With every asthma attack, the lung condition deteriorates, making the next asthma attack more dangerous. Untreated asthma will, over time, worsen and lead to respiratory disability, poor quality of life and lack of adequate oxygen in the body, which can harm other organs and even lead to heart failure," Dr Mendiratta told IANS.
Even among people undergoing treatment for the respiratory condition, less than 1% of patients have properly controlled asthma.
"It is because most patients don't take asthma medications for long. In addition to the stigma attached to inhalers, there are also several misconceptions, such as that inhalers are addiction-forming and can lead to side effects. This prevents patients from seeking proper treatment." Dr Mendiratta explained
The above article has been published from a wire source with minimal modifications to the headline and text.