Asthma in India
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#WorldAsthmaDay is observed on the first Tuesday of May to raise awareness of Asthma worldwide.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects millions of people worldwide. In India, asthma is a significant health problem, with an estimated 15-20 million people affected by the condition. Asthma is a condition in which the airways narrow, swell, and produce extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe. While there is no cure for asthma, the condition can be managed with proper treatment and lifestyle changes. In this article, we will discuss its prevalence, causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
Prevalence of Asthma in India
According to the Global Asthma Report, asthma affects approximately 339 million people worldwide. In India, the prevalence of asthma is estimated to be around 10% of the population. In recent years, asthma has been on the rise with an increase in both the number of cases and severity of the condition. This increase is largely attributed to environmental factors such as air pollution, dust, and pollen.
Causes of Asthma
The exact causes of asthma are not fully understood, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
In India, some of the environmental factors that contribute to asthma include air pollution, dust, pollen, and exposure to chemicals.
Indoor air pollution from cooking with biomass fuels such as wood and charcoal is also a significant contributor to the prevalence of asthma in India.
Common symptoms of Asthma
The symptoms of asthma can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Some common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can be triggered by a variety of factors, including exercise, allergens, pollution, and stress. Read more about how stress triggers Asthma.
Diagnosis of Asthma
The diagnosis of asthma involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and lung function tests.
Here are the steps that a healthcare professional might take to diagnose asthma:
Medical history: The doctor will ask about the patient’s symptoms, including when they occur, how often they occur, and what triggers them. Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Physical examination: The doctor will listen to the patient’s lungs with a stethoscope to check for wheezing or other abnormal sounds.
Lung function tests: The doctor may order a spirometry test to measure how much air the patient can exhale forcefully and how quickly they can do it. They may also perform a bronchoprovocation test, which involves inhaling a substance that causes the airways to narrow, to see if the patient’s airways react abnormally.
Other tests: The doctor may order blood tests or imaging tests, such as chest X-rays, to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
If the medical history, physical examination, and lung function tests suggest that the patient has asthma, the doctor will likely make a diagnosis and work with the patient to develop a treatment plan.
Have any questions related to Asthma? Connect with a pulmonologist on MFine.
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