Asthma patients must be careful

Published on May 05, 2015 03:04:35 AM
With Hyderabad making to the list of top ten polluted cities in the country, doctors have expressed grave concern over the rise in the number of asthma patients in the city. With Monday being observed as World Asthma Day, medical experts were unanimous that increase pollution levels have been triggering asthma even among healthy people.

On Monday, the city’s air quality level remained ‘satisfactory,’ implying minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people. The particulate matter (pm) levels were recorded between, 55 and 100. The National Air Quality Index recognised that particulate matter 2.5 (tiny particles in the air which reduce visibility) was the prominent pollutant in Sanathnagar. The PM 2.5 levels, which cause breathing problems to people suffering from asthma, lung problems and heart diseases, was high during afternoon.

The average levels of PM 2.5 in the city was, 77, O3 (ozone) at 53 pm, No2 (Nitrogen oxide) at 24 pm, carbon dioxide (CO2) at 19 pm and Sulphur dioxide (SO2) at 9 pm. The index shows real-time pollution levels in 10 cities, including Hyderabad. It tells people what kind of effect the air would have on one’s health. According to Global Initiative for Asthma Management (GINA) 2012 report, 30 crore people across the world are suffering from asthma and nearly two crore are from the country.

The report says around 15.7 per cent of the school-going children suffer from asthma. A study, conducted by economists and public policy experts from the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago, Yale and Harvard Universities, found that India’s poor air quality reduces the lifespan of the average citizen by 3.2 years.
Consultant pulmonologist at KIMS Hospital, Dr V V Ramana Prasad said, "I find an increase of 10 to 12 per cent of new asthma patients every year.”

Talking about precautions to manage asthma, he said helmets and scarfs should be used while travelling, to  decrease the cases by nearly 50 to 60 per cent. Another city-based pulmonologist Dr Ravinder M said, "Air pollution increasing levels can trigger asthma at any age, making it prone to people who are exposed to vehicular pollution and dust. I advise asthma patients to always carry inhalers.” Dr Ravindra Nallagonda said, "Risk factors for developing asthma include indoor allergens like fine dust in the house, bed mites, stuffed furniture and tobacco.”