Monday, January 14, 2013

Misconceptions about Asthma

Asthma is a condition that has troubled mankind for many years. About 235 million people are affected by the disease. The effects of Asthma and its symptoms are different for different people. Due to this and other numerous reasons there are lots of preconceived ideas that people have about Asthma. Knowing the facts can help address some of the myths for Asthma.

Inhalers and its addiction
Do you think that the use of inhalers is habit-forming and addictive? Lots of people think this. The fact is that just like brushing your teeth, taking Asthma medicine are not habit-forming. Inhalers are not addictive but it is a good habit to keep control over asthma and use your inhalers as prescribed by your doctor.

Oral Medication v/s Inhalation therapy

Facts and myths of asthma

Another common myth is that Oral medication like tablet and syrups are better than inhalation therapy that is commonly used for Asthma. The truth about this is that since inhalation directly goes to the affected area which is the lungs, it is a much more effective, safe and cost effective treatment than tablets and syrups which affect the whole system. With inhalation you need less quantity of the medicine (almost 40 times less) and since it has fewer side effects it is the least expensive in the long run for your health.

Inhalers have steriods that are harmful and too many side effects
You might think that Asthma medicine have steroids which are harmful to your body. Steroids are known to have many side effects like osteoporosis, weight gain, bruising easily, diabetes, cataracts, heartburn, depression and indigestion. This knowledge makes people believe that this strong medicine needs to be taken only for severe asthma. This is a wrong idea as inhalation therapy is the best treatment for Asthma at any levels of severity. The dosage of steroid in your inhalers could be about 40 times less than in tablet. And when you take inhalation therapy, the steroid medicine goes directly to the lungs where it is needed to give relief and has minimum side effects to other parts of the body. The steroid in your Controller will usually contain a corticosteroid which is a bit different from the steroids used by athletes to boost strength which has a negative stigma. Corticosteroids are a copy of the steroids that are produced naturally in our bodies. Thus it is a very safe and effective treatment for asthma. They are prescribed to you by your doctor based on the severity of your Asthma which is what makes it a very effective medicine with least amount of side effects.

Treatment and Cure of Asthma
Some people believe that their Asthma can be cured. They think that it comes and goes and that they can stop the treatment when the symptoms are gone. This is a very serious misconception and needs to be addressed. The common symptoms of Asthma which are breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and tightness of chest may not be felt always but your Asthma is still there. Asthma is a chronic disease which means that it is a long term disease which has to be treated by taking medicine regularly. The underlying cause of Asthma is the swelling in the airways of the lungs. If you stop taking your medicines thinking that your symptoms are gone, it would take you longer to recover from your attack when you do get an attack and you will be doing harm to your body.

Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for Asthma. None of the other alternative medicines like Ayurveda, homeopathy, yoga or fish therapy have been able to cure Asthma. Though it cannot be treated you can have excellent control over it and live a normal lifestyle. With regular treatment you can have total asthma control.

Lifestyle and Asthma
If you follow your physician's advice, educate yourselves about asthma, use your inhaled medication correctly as prescribed by the doctor, and avoid your triggers, there is no reason why asthma should get in the way of your dreams. There are many successful men and women - film stars, politicians, business people, doctors, even Olympic gold medalists who have asthma and still continue leading normal, active lives.
Though you have Asthma, with proper and controlled medication you can do whatever you have dreamed of in life. Swimming, sprinting and yoga can be good sports for a person having Asthma as they do allow you to take breaks in between.
Today’s inhalers are so safe, even mothers who breastfeed can take inhalers without any harm to the child. A child can safely use inhalers as can a pregnant woman.

Asthma inheritance
Some people believe that you can get Asthma only if your parents have Asthma. This is not true. You can have Asthma if there is a history of allergy in your family i.e. if your uncles, grandparents , siblings have it. Also it can be caused by asthma triggers in the environment.
Asthma is not infectious and cannot be caught from anyone else.
Asthma is a lifelong condition. You usually do not grow out of it. A child’s asthma may get better as they and their lungs grow but for most people asthma is present for the rest of their life.

Can a person die of Asthma
Unfortunately, yes, one can die of asthma. According to WHO update, approximately 250,000 people die prematurely each year from asthma. Almost all of these deaths are avoidable. Death can occur if the asthma is not diagnosed in the first place. Or if the patient did not have a Reliever near at hand when having an attack. The people at risk are the ones whose asthma is out of control and need to take high amount of doses to keep their Asthma under control. Anyone who has to visit the hospital for frequent nebulisation’s is also at risk. Asthma affects all kinds of people in the society, and while it is fatal, it can in most cases be controlled. Most asthma attacks develop slowly – it normally takes a day or more of feeling unwell, for eg., slight breathlessness or wheezing before the attack occurs.

Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov