Srinagar, May 02: There is a need to raise community awareness to reduce the myths and stigma associated with asthma to diagnose and treat the disease at the right time to prevent mortality, doctors said on Tuesday.
“Asthma is seen in 5-10 percent of patients in Chest Disease Hospital of GMC Srinagar and 3 percent of them are severe cases,” said Dr Naveed Nazir Shah, a top pulmonologist and HOD Chest Medicine, Chest Disease Hospital Srinagar, who was one of the panellists at a CME on World Asthma Day at GMC Srinagar.
He said that asthma is more likely in people who have other allergic conditions, such as eczema and rhinitis (hay fever).
“The high prevalence of smoking in Kashmir is also a major cause of asthma. Pollen, greenery, cold air, pollution, winter and other factors also contribute to the incidence of asthma,” Dr Naveed said.
He said people with asthma and their families need education to understand more about their asthma, their treatment, triggers to avoid and how to manage their symptoms at home.
“There is a need to raise community awareness to reduce the myths and stigma associated with asthma in some settings. It is also important to diagnose and treat the disease at the right time to prevent mortality,” the top pulmonologist said.
He said there is a good infrastructure including high end equipment at the CD Hospital to detect asthma cases. “The diagnostic facilities have improved over the years and we are focussing on early detection,” he said.
As per doctors urbanization is associated with increased asthma prevalence, probably due to multiple lifestyle factors which are also seen in Kashmir valley.
Prof. Masood Tanvir, Principal/Dean Government Medical College, Srinagar was chief guest on the occasion and presented an overview of the burden of asthma within the subcontinent and presented data showing inadequacy in diagnosis and treatment.
He stressed that more efforts need to be put in place for early diagnosis and treatment to decrease the morbidity/ mortality due to the disease.
Dr Naeem Firdous lecturer Pulmonary Medicine presented an overview of asthma with stress on diagnostic and treatment modalities.
At the event, a panel discussion on problem-based approach to asthma and its management was held and chaired by Dr Masood Tanvir and Dr Naveed Nazir Shah, along with other senior faculty members Prof. (Dr.) Khursheed, Dr Suraya, Dr Yusuf, Dr Bikram and Dr Tajamul Hussain discussed detailed case-based approach on various aspects of asthma in a stepwise manner concentrating on early diagnosis and management of bronchial asthma.
The CME session was attended by senior faculty members, residents, medical graduates and other allied medical staff.
World asthma day is celebrated all over the world on 1st Tuesday of May with the aim to create awareness about asthma disease, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and remove the myths and misconceptions about the disease.
As per doctors, people with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration.
“If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death,” they said.