BY DR PRABHU PRASAD
World Asthma Day is observed on May 2 every year, and is an attempt to raise awareness of the ailment. The theme for this year is 'Asthma Care for All'.
Every year, asthma affects over 339 million people worldwide, with over 15 million being Indians. By 2025, 400 million individuals are expected to suffer from the ailment.
It can occur at any age and is not contagious. Asthmatic patients, with controlled asthma, can engage in monitored physical activity. It is manageable with an inhaler.
PREVENTION & CONTROL
Environmental factors have an important role in triggering asthma. Some of us get headaches due to air pollution and climate change, but many end up with asthma.
Avoiding risk factors that trigger asthma symptoms is an important technique for better control.
Severe asthma is a form of asthma in which symptoms are difficult to control, even with large doses of medication. It is the most severe and potentially fatal form of asthma.
According to international estimates of persons with asthma, 24% receive high-intensity treatment, 17% have difficult-to-treat asthma, and 3%-5% have the most serious type of asthma known as severe asthma.
Although the percentage appears to be lower, the secondary health care cost utilization in relation to asthma treatment appears to be higher.
Though the percentage appears to be lower, the healthcare costs associated with asthma treatment are approximately 50-80%. Most asthmatics can control their symptoms with a preventive and relief inhaler. Others may require further help from their doctors and occasionally additional treatment to achieve better control of their symptoms; these people may be diagnosed with severe asthma.
Severe asthma, on the other hand, necessitates more specialized therapies to regulate symptoms and reduce asthma attacks. It may take some time to find the right mix of medication that works best for you.
HOSPITALISATIONS OR ER VISITS
Is the severity of your asthma attacks taking you to the emergency room or requiring you to be hospitalised?
If all this sounds familiar, it's important to discuss your current asthma treatments with your doctor.
Biologics have been shown to significantly improve the lives of many persons suffering from severe asthma. They can help patients live a healthier life by lowering the amount of steroids that are required.
(The author is an Interventional Pulmonologist at the Department of Pulmonology, Manipal Hospitals, Goa)