Almost 2.3 per cent adults in the city suffer from asthma, said Professor Digamber Behera, head of PGI’s department of Pulmonary Medicine, while delivering a lecture on World Asthma Day at Panjab University (PU) on Tuesday.
The lecture was organised by PU’s Bhai Ghanaiya Ji Institute of Health, in collaboration with other departments at the varsity including the Centre for Public Health, Department of Education, Department of Environment Studies and Department of Social Work. PU Dean University Instructions, Professor A K Bhandari presided over the lecture.
A chronic inflammatory disorder of the lungs, Professor Behera said an asthma attack was more likely to happen during the night and morning as lung functions are at their lowest at these times. “Common environment factors which cause allergy include certain food items, tobacco smoke, drugs, dust mite, cockroaches, perfumes, food additives, cats, dogs and dust,” he said.
Professor Behera highlighted that studies in India have shown that the prevalence rate of Allergic Rhinitis, which leads to sneezing and running nose is around 25 per cent, while prevalence rate for Bronchial Asthma ranges between 2-5 per cent. “Swimming is the best exercise for asthmatics. If one has to exercise or run then one should use inhalers,” he said, while adding that exercise too may trigger an asthma attack.
Elaborating on the treatment, Professor Behera said a patient should not discontinue treatment if he experiences relief. The treatment must be continued for at least 6-8 weeks or 3-6 months for better control.
“Inhalers are low-dose steroids and are the mainstay of treatment. Patients should understand the importance of inhalers and use them properly to lead a normal life as asthma is not completely curable,” the professor pointed out even as he dismissed the misconception that patients become addicted to inhalers if used for a long time. The lecture was followed by a session chaired by Dr Devinder Dhawan, Chief Medical Officer at PU.