Dr. Akash Balki points out that asthma is a very manageable disease, but one that spirals out of control if treatment is delayed and medications are not taken regularly. “Our patients feel that asthma is an acute disease, not a chronic one. Many believe that, like other illnesses, asthma medications are only given for the short term. They stop the drugs once they start feeling better,” Dr. Balki said.
Dr. Balki suggests that asthma and a normal life can co-exist if prescribed inhalers are used regularly while leading a healthy lifestyle.
This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is “Closing the Gaps in Asthma Care”. There are different perspectives on the diagnosis and treatment of asthma around the world and there are inequalities between different social and economic groups. In addition, the information available for asthma patients and their relatives varies considerably. This year’s Asthma Day celebration aims to close that gap.
Highlighting the importance of asthma reassessment, Senior Respirologist Dr Ashok Arbat said: “Patients tend to ignore asthma once it is controlled with medication. However, it can trigger again and make the condition worse. Therefore, patients should reassess it at regular intervals.
On late reporting to hospitals, Dr. Arbat shared the results of an internal survey of asthma patients conducted at KRIMS Hospital. “Our study reveals that only 5% of patients arrived at the hospital when their asthma was still mild. If a patient with mild to moderate symptoms seek prompt medical attention, asthma can be effectively controlled. Therefore, public awareness of the early symptoms of asthma is essential,” he said.
34% of asthma patients only consult a doctor at a severe stage: study
KRIMS Hospital conducted a six-year study of its 5,327 asthma patients between 2016 and 2021. On average, 34% of patients reached the hospital with severe asthma, nearly 61% with moderate asthma and only 5% at a mild or initial state.
Some encouraging facts emerged from the comparison by year. Compared to just 1.35% of patients who reported a mild stage in 2016, more than 11% reached the hospital in 2021. This means that awareness is gradually increasing.
The study reveals that 56% of asthma patients were women. The comparison by year for the six years shows that the prevalence decreases in women and increases in men.
Allergy remains a major cause of asthma. Almost 52% of the patients surveyed were detected with an allergy. Patients with allergies accounted for less than 30% in 2016 and more than 52% in 2021, indicating that allergies are increasing year on year.