About 2 crore Indians suffer from asthma, most of them children. On this World Asthma Day let us debunk some of the most common myths surrounding asthma. Being clear on the facts, can make dealing with asthma a lot less stressful and could also be potentially life-saving.
What you should know:
Common Asthma Symptoms
The common asthma symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.
- Tight feeling in the chest.
- Difficulty breathing when lying down causing sleep problems.
Myths Surrounding Asthma
There are 5 common myths that can be a cause of worry for some asthma patients. But once the facts are revealed, you can be better prepared to deal with your asthma symptoms.
1. Myth: Asthma is a psychological disease and only in the patient’s head.
Fact: This is absolutely not true. Asthma is a very real disease of the respiratory tract and can be quite a challenge for those prone to attacks. Asthma can be caused due to exposure of allergens or pollutants in the air, respiratory infections like a cold, excessive physical activity, and cold air. All these factors can cause inflammation in the respiratory tract and lungs that makes breathing difficult.
2. Myth: Asthma inhalers are addictive.Fact: There is no evidence to show that using and inhaler for asthma can lead to an addiction. People who believe this myth, might also believe that the inhaler and other asthma medication should only be used when there is an asthmatic attack. However, doctors state that taking the medication as prescribed helps to keep the lungs healthy and prevent attacks from happening.
3. Myth: Asthmatics shouldn’t exercise. Fact: Everyone needs to exercise including asthma patients. While they should be careful and not push themselves too far, moderate exercise can actually help strengthen the lungs. Exercise also helps to improve breathing capacity.
4. Myth: Asthma symptoms are common for all patients.
Fact: Different patients experience an asthma attack in different ways. While some patients might have severe wheezing, for others it might just feel like heaviness or tightness in the chest. Some patients experience more that one symptom while others could suffer from two or more. Each patient should be aware of how their own asthma symptoms manifest.
5. Myth: Children outgrow asthma once they are adults. Fact: Unfortunately, this too is a myth. Many children who suffer from asthma continue to have the condition as adults. It helps to be mentally prepared that you could have asthma your whole life, but can keep it under control with the right care.
Dealing with Asthma in an Emergency
If you or a love one suffers from asthma, it is better to be prepared in case of an emergency. In cases where the patient is having severe breathing difficulty, make sure that the inhaler is close by and that they can use the asthma pump as required. It also helps to have a nebuliser in the house that can be used in times of emergency. If it reaches a point where nothing is helping, get the patient to a hospital at the earliest.
The 4th May, 2021 is World Asthma Day, for more health tips on asthma and other medical conditions visit the Lifestyle section of the Activ Living Blog. You can also use our Asthma Control Questionnaire to help you check if your asthma is safely under control or requires treatment.