KARACHI: The Deputy Director of the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases, Dr Nadeem Ahmed, recently informed that 300 million people in the world have asthma. 20 to 30% of the children in Pakistan suffer from this disease while it is relatively low in elders. Three people out of 30 in Pakistan have asthma at present. Asthma causes temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs resulting in a difficulty in breathing. Asthma may be genetic in many cases, and it can be triggered with the increase in environmental pollution, pet dander shed by furry/feathery animals, mould spores, and pollen grains.
He said this while talking at the World Asthma Day Seminar held at the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases, Dow University of Health Sciences. Assistant Professor, Saif Ullah Baig, Dr Aisha, and Dr Sadaf also addressed the audience at the seminar; a large number of which were people who have asthma.
The World Asthma Day is celebrated on first Tuesday of the month of May every year to create awareness about this disorder. This disease may get worse when the patient gets exposed to smoke, dust, carpet irritants, allergy to particular food and drinks, and domestic controversy.
Saif Ullah Baig stated that, unfortunately, due to increasing environmental pollution in Pakistan, asthma is also increasing; thus we need to work on it individually and collectively. Asthma is not a contagious disease; hence those who care for such patients do not have the risk of this disease. It is a chronic disease which can be controlled; however, there is no medicine yet to end it. Shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, wheezing sound while exhaling, and coughing are the common symptoms of this disease. Such patients should stay away from perfumes, coil smoke, and particles of cockroach waste.
Dr Aisha said that an inhaler is the best way to control asthma immediately as it does not affect any other organ and gets the medicine directly into the air passage. The correct use of inhaler quickly relieves the condition from getting worse, and the use of inhalers is better than a nebulizer. She also demonstrated the use of an inhaler for the ease of patients. She proceeded to state that the societies where there is little to no use of inhalers, the death rate is found to be increasing gradually there.
Dr Sadaf said that such patients generally suffer from asthma attacks during early or late hours of the day. Asthma is also caused due to changes in weather. Usually, asthma is not caused by the intake of any particular food item. Since this disease is increasing due to the increasing pollution in Pakistan; therefore there is a need of creating awareness in different cities and areas of the country, because a lack of awareness about asthma may result in the loss of many precious lives in the country.