ASTHMA: The Most Common Lifelong Chronic Disease


Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases and May is the month of ASTHMA AWARENESS. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 300 million people suffer from Asthma, 255, 000 people died of Asthma in 2005 (WHO 2004) and over 80% of Asthma deaths are reported from low and lower-middle income countries, in India, an estimated that 57,000 deaths were attributed to Asthma in 2004 (WHO 2004).



It is disease affecting the lungs, causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to manage asthma successfully to reduce and prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes. When you control your asthma, you will breathe easier, be as active as you would like, sleep well, stay out of the hospital, and be free from coughing and wheezing.



It is generally seen that people do not suffer the agony of an asthmatic attack if they continue to live their life in a regular way. The problem arises mainly when the people go out of their way and break all the routines. The system thus gets unnecessarily pressured and reacts badly by manifesting the symptoms of the disease in the oddest of ways and without many warning signs. Sometimes the body does give the warning signs but the person may ignore them completely.



Some easily followed precautions especially during summers of Delhi may keep an asthmatic without suffering an attack. These precautions are:


  • We should avoid rapid change in atmospheric temperature like moving suddenly into a very air conditioned room from outside.
  • Asthma patient’s surroundings should be kept neat and tidy and avoid unventilated and damp surroundings. They should prevent moving in dusty winds and consumption of chilled products.
  • The daily diet of an asthma patient should be kept simple and nutritious. He should take care of not eating heavy fried meals especially junk food as they would tax the system unnecessarily.
  • Asthma patients may have difficulty with the atmospheric pollution also. It is very important to assess whether the patient may be allergic to any particular kind of allergen present in the atmosphere around his place of dwelling or occupation.
  • Continue with their medication specially inhalers as advised by the doctor regularly even when they are asymptomatic.
  • Physical sports activity must be in consultation with your doctors but rigorous activities should be avoided if symptoms are already present. And while going for the sports preventive inhalers should always be there to take care of any emergency.



  • It is wrong to assume that patient would be dependent on inhalers. They are infact for protection, prevention and treatment of asthma.
  • It is wrong to believe that inhalers should be used as a last resort as they are the first hand therapy.
  • Inhalers don’t cause any side effects. The fact is side effects with inhalers are much less than with oral medications.
  • They don’t cause any growth retardation.




Author : Dr. Manoj kumar Goel

Dr. Manoj kumar GoelDr Manoj K Goel is an interventional Pulmonologist and Director, Department of Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in Delhi Heart and Lung Institute, New Delhi. He graduated and postgraduated from King George’s Medical College, Lucknow.He is a visiting fellow in Critical Care at Erasme University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium. He has done a course in Sleep Medicine at Sydney, Australia. He was Interventional Pulmonologist and Chief Intensivist at Batra Hospital in New Delhi for about 10 years. He received National award for research in Interventional Pulmonology in year 2004.He was joint organizing secretary BRONCOCON 2005, the National Conference on Bronchology. He has 22 research publications. He has special interest in pulmonary interventions such as airway stenting, medical thoracoscopy, laser bronchoscopy, endobronchial brachyterapy, balloon tamponade, balloon bronchoplasty and percutaneous tracheostomy besides Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. He is one of the first physicians to introduce the concept of noninvasive ventilation for both acute and long-term home care. He is also one of the pioneers in the field of sleep medicine, especially sleep related breathing disorders.