What Is Asthma?
People, especially in urban India, seem to complain a lot about having shortness of breath, cough and sneezing these days. In the past decade, population growth, heavy traffic, industries everywhere, poor hygiene have all played a great role in accelerating the overall prevalence of asthma and other respiratory allergies worldwide. Epidemiological studies reveal that globally, around 100 to 150 million people suffer from asthma. Death tolls due to asthma rise to 180,000 annually. In India itself, this problem is prevalent in about 10% to 15 % of 5 to 11-year old kids. Till date, approximately 15 – 20 million asthma patients have been reported in India.
Asthma is a chronic breathing disorder in which the airway becomes hyper-responsive on exposure to a particular allergen. This causes spasmodic narrowing of the airways which, however, can be relieved with treatment. Asthma and allergies usually start in early childhood, but asthma attacks (severe form of asthma causing respiratory distress) can occur in all age groups.