Have you been suffering from persistent cough accompanied by wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness? And taking the usual medications for cold and flu has not helped much? It may be time to wake-up to the indicative signs of the chronic disease, asthma, which is one of the most pervasive disorders in India affecting 1 in 20 adults and 1 in 10 children.
Asthma, a chronic lung disease characterised by swelling and narrowing of the airways and extra secretion of mucus, causes breathing difficulty and coughing specially at night or early morning. Environmental or genetic factors and exposure to allergens and irritants like dust, pollution, pollen, smoke & many more are mainly responsible for triggering asthma symptoms.
Experts believes that often under-diagnosed and under-treated, asthma may pose considerable hindrances, preventing an individual to lead a normal life. Asthma & its symptoms can be controlled with timely diagnosis, proper management and an adequate treatment plan.
And treatment using inhalers is the cornerstone of controlling the disease. We hardly use any tablets & syrups anymore
A vast body of scientific studies suggest that inhalation therapy is the best possible treatment for controlling asthmatic symptoms. It is very effective, safe & easily affordable. Most of the developed countries like the USA and UKhave succeeded in replacing tablets and syrups with inhalers.
However, in India the acceptance of inhalers among asthma patients as well as the general masses is verylow, primarily because of the prevailing myths such as the fear of addiction, the steroids in inhalers will cause harm and that inhalers are ‘strong medicines ‘and should be used as last resort. Expert’s emphasis that patients and their family members must understand the nature of the disease and the way the medicines and the inhalers act. It is only then that treatment will be taken as recommended by the doctor.
In inhalation therapy, the medication is delivered directly to the lungs and takes effect faster than orally ingested asthma medications. Moreover, oral medications inevitably get absorbed in all organs and not just the lungs, even though other organs do not require the drug.
Most asthma controller medicines used in an inhaler therapies, contain corticosteroids which are a copy of the steroids naturally produced in our body. But, many people confuse corticosteroids with anabolic steroids which are synthetic version of male hormone, testosterone.
Unlike anabolic steroids which are often misused or overused by some athletes and body-builders to gain extreme strength, corticosteroids have a totally different effect. Corticosteroids are widely used in the treatment of many medical conditions including asthma. Therefore they are a vital component of asthma treatment therapies.
The corticosteroids present in inhalers are completely safe and medically approved. They are used in very low doses (micrograms) & research have proved that they are so safe that they can be taken over several years . Use of inhalers right from the initial stages allows the patient to have better control on asthma and reduce greatly the recurrence of attacks, besides helping prevent complications. This helps the patient to lead a normal life and participate in all activities.
Early diagnosis of asthma and an adequate treatment plan can help any individual lead an active, normal and unrestricted life without impeding his physical and psychological development. So, before time runs out it is better to get yourself diagnosed for asthma if coughing and breathlessness have been troubling you lately.
Tips to Manage Asthma Effectively
- Asthma triggers vary from person to person and so do strategies to reduce asthma flare-ups.
- Many people with asthma also have allergies, which can trigger asthma symptoms, an allergist can identify that, if you have any, you should avoid them.
- Quick-relief rescue medications provide temporary relief of asthma symptoms.
- Asthma medications may need to be adjusted as asthma change, so it is advisable to stay in close touch with allergist/doctor.
- Take proper sleep
- Exercise frequently
- Stop smoking
- Take proper and balanced diet
Myths and perceptions on Asthma
- Inhaled steroids are dangerous and addictive
- My child will outgrow asthma
- My child will gain weight as inhalers are steroids
- Asthma is an infection
- Long term usage will lead to decline in effectiveness of cortico -steroids
My smoking will have no effect on my asthma.