Who Concern Over Rising Asthma Cases
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04 May 2010
The World Health Organisation has estimated that the number of asthma patients in India would increase to about 80 millions from the present 30 millions by the year 2020. The main reason for this health hazard is the presence of huge quantities of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) in the air which is the consequence of rising levels of pollution.
One to two per cent of the urban population were suffering from asthma nearly a decade ago. It is now between 8 and 9 percent. Another cause for worry is the prevalence of ‘paediatric asthma’. One out of every three newborn babies is found to be afflicted with asthma.
The extent of pollution should be reduced to prevent asthma lest it should figure as second biggest cause of death in India next to road accidents, probably replacing cancers (heart disease occupies the number one slot now).
Addressing a press conference organised by Cipla here on Monday on the occasion of World Asthma Day, Dr. M Raghavendra Rao, Head of Department of T. B and Chest Diseases at Rangaraya Medical College said a few cases of asthma were being reported in India, which made adopting a concerted action plan difficult.
Industrialisation and vehicular pollution, which result in deposition of massive quantities of SPM in the atmosphere, were two main causes of asthma. Smoking was another major factor causing asthma.
Besides, most passive smokers end up as asthma patients. Manufacture and disposal of plastic materials has also reached alarming proportions. Plastics release chemical pollutants into the air.
Dr. Raghavendra Rao said shortness of breath, chest tightness, cough and wheezing (whistling noise in the chest during breathing). Asthma in children should be treated immediately after its detection as it could lead to other fatal complications. Chronic asthma could cause permanent damage to lungs. Timely treatment and proper medication were crucial to control the disease.