Punjab

Need for Increased Awareness on Asthma and Adoption of the Right Treatment

Punjab Tribune Bureau | November 01, 2018 09:15 PM

Call comes in light of the concern that up to 7 out of 10 patients in Jalandhar suffering from asthma do not use inhalation therapy

15% of people with asthma in Jalandhar have an action plan in place

 JALANDHAR: Asthma is a chronic (long term) disease usually characterized by airway inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which can vary over time. It is estimated that in Jalandhar, local doctors on a daily basis see an average of around 40 patients suffering from asthma/respiratory diseases.

The pediatric asthma segment has also seen a significant increase on a year on year basis (doctors reckon they see an estimated 25-30 new cases of children with asthma every month). On an average until date in 2018, while Jalandhar has seen a 25% increase in the number of people suffering from asthma as compared to last year, approximately, one third of population from Jalandhar will develop asthma at some time, mostly before the age of 20. Meanwhile while the number of patients using inhalation therapy has increased in the last few years, an estimated 50% of asthmatics discontinue inhaler use in the midway.

 

The reasons for the prevalence of asthma in Jalandhar include increase in vehicle population rapidly in Jalandhar, lack of ventilation in houses and schools leading to rise in indoor pollution, food habit, nutritional deficiency, hereditary predisposition and largely ignorance amongst parents. The percentage and volume of lung diseases, especially asthma have gone up in Jalandhar.

In light of the lack of awareness on Asthma and adoption of the right treatment to improve patient outcomes, #BerokZindagi – a multi-media awareness campaign is launched with the aim to dispel myths and fears regarding asthma and encourage those affected by this condition to live a life without limits. While striving to establish inhalation therapy as the smartest choice to combat the illness, this multi-channel initiative will also provide information & resources for both - people affected by asthma and healthcare professionals. This campaign that also aims to eliminate stigma around inhalation therapy and make it more socially acceptable will help foster further dialogue between patients and their physicians.     

This campaign follows a synergistic partnership with Priyanka Chopra - Bollywood’s global icon and an asthmatic herself to raise awareness about asthma along with helping address the stigma associated with this condition - one of the key factors responsible for patient anxiety, & denial, delayed diagnosis, and avoidance of inhaler use in public.

Talking about the incidences of asthma in Jalandhar, Dr. Vineet Mahajan, Pulmonologist at Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS)emphasized on the social stigma around using inhalation therapy. He said, “There is a big stigma in unmarried or newly married women, when it comes to using inhalers because of which even today oral medication is the most sorts after therapy in the city. Traffic, air pollution and intensive farming around the city are some of the major factors that lead to causing asthma. A recent trend that was observed in the city was the increase in incidents of asthma in new born and infants. Asthma, being one of the biggest chronic diseases requires continuous medical care, which a lot of people fail to understand due to lack of knowledge and awareness and even amongst the people who start inhalation therapy, around 60-70% drop it midway.”

According to WHO, between 15 and 20 million people have Asthma in India and the prevalence is high at 10% to 15% in 5–11-year-old children. #BerokZindagi aims to help millions breathe-free and is here to support asthmatics by encouraging them to opt for inhalation therapy. Shying away from the condition will not improve quality of life, accepting it will do. Asthma can be controlled with medicines, but without the appropriate treatment, it can lead to frequent attacks. 

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