Today is World Asthma day. It is a common inflammatory condition of airway that affects people of all ages and groups. This imposes a human and economic burden on not only the family of an asthmatic but also the nation.
There are 300 million asthmatics worldwide with 1/10th of those living in India. A recent review analysis of 15 epidemiological studies showed that the mean prevalence of asthma among children was 7.24%.
The prevalence of childhood asthma has continued to increase in last 10 years on the Indian subcontinent.
According to India's largest community of verified doctors Curofy in a poll of 1040 doctors, 82% said that there has been an increased asthma incidence in children due to increased environmental pollution.
Though asthma is thought to have a genetic predilection, the recent increase in asthma in children is a cause of concern. This surge has been blamed on various causes ranging from allergies to environmental pollution.
"More than a million people are suffering from asthma, it is highly common in all ages. It is on the rise because of recent changes in our global environment. Air pollution and particulate dust matters are on a rise. It requires regular pulmonary evaluation like spirometry followed by proper medication to prevent further complications," said Dr Anshum Aneja Arora, consultant W-Pratiksha Hospital, Gurugram.
A total of 11% of the doctors polled for second and first hand smoking whereas 7% chose genetic predilection as the leading cause for increased childhood asthma.
On being asked how to manage asthmatic patients Dr Sandeep Nayar from BLK Hospital said, "Self management is a necessity among asthma patients. Young children may not necessarily understand the chronic nature of their disease or how asthma is affecting their lives in a negative manner. The question then becomes, how can someone improve their quality of life if they do not even realise it is being negatively affected? Education is the key! Parents should make sure they make their young ones well aware about the disease and also, teach them steps to be followed during emergency."
"A large chunk of younger generation is suffering from asthma which a matter of concern," said Curofy co-founder Nipun Goyal. "It’s a problem and the first step towards solving it is identification of the cause. We tried to do that by asking doctors about it and the results clearly told us that environment pollution needs to be controlled to save our younger generation."