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Need for increased awareness on Asthma

Published in Health Tuesday, 06 November 2018 15:45




7 out of 10 patients in Kochi suffering from Asthma do not use inhalation therapy



Asthma is a chronic disease usually characterized by airway inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which can vary over time. It is estimated that in Kochi, 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 Kochi has seen a 25% increase in the number of people suffering from asthma as compared to last year, approximately, one third of population from Kochi 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 75% of asthmatics discontinue inhaler use. 


The reasons for the prevalence of asthma in Kochi include amongst others air pollution attributed to the increase in air particulate matters, pollen, smoking, food habit, nutritional deficiency, hereditary predisposition and largely ignorance amongst parents. The percentage and volume of lung diseases, especially asthma have gone up in Kochi. 


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 Kochi, Dr. Praveen Valsalan, Pulmonologist at Aster Medicitysaid, “Compared to last few years, prevalence of asthma has increased in children and young aged people. Air pollution and allergens are few of the major aggravators of asthma in people. With children being the most vulnerable group, they are very flexible about adopting inhalation therapy. Incidence and prevalence is definitely more in metro cities, but it is increasing in non-metro cities also. Acceptance of inhaler is somewhat equal among cities due to the recent awareness drives on asthma.” 


“Asthma is the leading cause of chronic diseases in people, and has increased in Cochin in last few years. Growing out of asthma in children is now a theoretical entity, nowadays younger adults are affected. Combination of humidity and dust makes the city of Kochi a vulnerable place for respiratory patients especially Asthma. Adherence is more in children whose parents are educated to the benefits of inhalers, even though they themselves may stop using inhalers, they try to be more compliant with their children's treatment. People are more aware about inhalers than last decade but Ayurveda and Homeopathic patients are also high in Kochi” said, Dr. Paramez AR, Pulmonologist at LISIE Hospital at Kochi. 


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. #BerokZindagiaims 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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Business Digest August September 2018

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