India has approximately 30 million asthmatics, accounting for 13.09 percent of the global burden, according to the Global Burden of Disease report. Dr. Rahul Rathore, a pulmonologist at Charak Hospital, stated in a press statement on Friday that India accounts for over 42 percent of all global asthma deaths. A new study from the Global Asthma Network (GAN) revealed that the stigma associated with asthma is preventing patients in India from taking medical treatment. According to the reports, nearly 82% of the patients with early symptoms and 70% of patients with severe asthma remain undiagnosed in India. It is said that 23% of people who have asthma call their disease with some other name. Less than 2.5% of the patients who have been diagnosed with asthma use the inhaler regularly.
Dr. Rajesh Swarnakar, national secretary, the Indian Chest Society shared the survey figures that were released recently to mark Global Asthma Awareness month with TOI.
Dr. Swarnakar said that Asthma is considered a stigma and many patients hide the disease from others. He further stated that patients will only consult a doctor when the symptoms aggravate or intolerable. After doctors prescribe medicine, generally patients use them for some time, and later they would stop. Many patients stop using inhalers once they feel better. Discontinuation of inhalers is not a healthy practice and it may further increase the symptoms which can worsen disease outcomes.
The need of the hour for patients who are diagnosed with Asthma should consult a doctor on a timely basis and going through a proper treatment is quite important.