New Delhi: As Asthma continues to affect people due to poor air quality, health experts on Tuesday urged the government to regulate the increasing toxic smoke from industries and dust from construction sites.
The two factors have played a major role in doubling asthma patients in the country.
According to the doctors, majority of the Asthma cases were caused due to Genetical Predisposition till now. But now the trend has changed. Among the rising factors behind the dreaded breathing disease are toxic smoke from industries and dust from construction sites which have deteoriated the air quality in last decade.
“There is a need for the government to take steps to regulate the poisionous smoke from industries and dust from construction sites. This leads to increase in fine particles in the air and therefore increase in asthma attacks,” said Sandeep Tilve, consultant pulmonologist, SRV hospital.
Tilve said deterioration in air quality has gone so low that controlling asthma has become very difficult inspite of the patients taking their medicines regularly.
As per WHO, over 150 million people around the globe suffer from Asthma while the number of deaths due to it is over 180,000 annually. India has an estimated 15-20 million asthmatics, including 15 percent of children aged 5-11 years.
“It is important that the AQI (Air Quality Index) is lower than 100. AQI more than 100 indicates that the air breathed may cause breathing discomfort to people with lung diseases”.
Calling bad air quality an aggravator of asthma, Kedar Toraskar, chest physician at Wockhardt hospital, said: “With each car or a vehicle, we add a little more toxicity to the air we breathe. It is these pollutants that cause asthmatic allergies and eventually affect our health. Tiny particles suspended in the air occurring from dust storms, smoke caused by burning fossil fuels, industrial plant aerosols.”
Toraskar said the need of the hour was that the people should come out of the barriers and taboos and understand the need of proper medication for asthma.
“Myths associated with the treatment needs to be busted. Inhaled corticosteroids is one of the best treatments available for asthma management. However, due to lack of awareness many people remain reluctant to take the therapy,” said Toraskar.
Corticosteroids are hormones that are naturally produced by the body, he explained.
Agreed Sandeep Nayar, the head of respiratory medicine at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, saying: “Corticosteroids in small quantities ease the inflamed airways. However, regular use of inhaled steroids over prolonged periods is considered expensive.”
“Inhaled medication is not available from government hospitals and health centers and only 2 percent of the 50 million asthma sufferers in India use this. On the contrary more than 90 percent of asthmatics in the UK have access to inhaled steroids,” said Nayar.