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Patients and caregivers most often misinformed about asthma treatment: IMA
According to the WHO, more than 235 million people suffer from Asthma Worldwide. The disease affects over 20 million people in India with a higher prevalence in children. Today asthma is one of the most poorly controlled chronic respiratory disorders.
With the rising global air pollution levels and lack of awareness on disease management, these numbers will continue to grow.

Asthma is a chronic manageable inflammatory disease that affects the airways of the lungs. It can develop in people from all age groups, though mostly gets diagnosed in childhood itself. An asthma patient's airways become narrow, making his/her lungs vulnerable to various allergens, which act as triggers for an asthmatic attack. Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. During an asthma attack, airways become inflamed, making it hard to breathe. Recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing accompanied by chest tightness and chronic cough are indicative of asthma. Asthma attacks can be mild, moderate, or serious - and even life-threatening.

It is important for people to understand that though asthma is not curable but can be easily managed through medications and by avoiding common asthma triggers, thereby helping patients to gain control over the disease.

In children, asthma often manifests through a single symptom like a cough, which is more severe at night or early morning and persists despite the intake of various cough syrups and medications. While asthma has been noted to be a major barrier to social activities, entertainment or physical recreation for people suffering from it, proper medical care has been shown to provide considerable relief to patients.

Talking about the treatment options Dr KK Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General of Indian Medical Association (IMA)in a statement said, "Patients and caregivers are most often misinformed when they seek treatment for asthma. It is, therefore, imperative for health-care practitioners to educate patients and caregivers about early disease acceptance and importance of effective treatment modalities. Combining right asthma management strategies along with effective therapeutic approach for adults and children with persistent asthma can help beat asthma and gain control over one's life."

In recent years, inhaled corticosteroids have emerged as a preferred mode of treatment for asthma than oral medications due to lesser side effects and faster action. The most evident advantage of inhaled corticosteroids is a minimization of unwanted systemic effects as the medication acts with utmost pulmonary specificity, together with rapid onset and duration of action.

Unfortunately, considering the social stigma attached to the disease, often people shy away from using inhalers in public or getting effective treatment, eventually leading to deterioration of symptoms.

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