7 May 2024


Asthma is one of the leading non-communicable diseases (NCD), affecting more than 34 million patients worldwide every year. According to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report, India has a mortality rate for asthma that is three times higher than the global average.

Dr Mohit Kaushal, Consultant, Pulmonology and Critical Care, Fortis Hospital Mohali, in an advisory explains how to safeguard one’s health from asthma and the available treatment options.

World Asthma Day is observed on the first Tuesday of May annually to raise awareness about respiratory diseases. This year’s theme, “Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions,” seeks to address common misunderstandings surrounding asthma.

What is asthma?
Stating that asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition in which there is narrowing of the airways due to inflammation and mucus production, Dr Kaushal, added, “Asthma attacks can get serious and may require hospitalization. We mostly witness an upsurge in cases during the harvesting months – mention months here and seasonal change. Although asthma cannot be cured, the attacks can be prevented if managed well.”

Discussing the symptoms of asthma, Dr Kaushal, said, “The common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, wheezing when exhaling, shortness of breath, coughing that is worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu.”

When does an asthma attack occur?
Dr Kaushal 
said an asthma attack usually occurs due to frequent coughing. “A typical asthma attack occurs when an individual has a viral infection during sleep, or is exposed to cold air, pollens, pets, perfumes, dust etc.” Hefurther said asthma should be identified, diagnosed and treated appropriately with bronchodilators under the supervision of an expert. “If the symptoms are not controlled early, lung function can worsen and the quality of life can be affected,” he added.

Treatment options
Bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids are administered through the inhalation route as these have negligible side effects. “Inhaled corticosteroids are inhaled directly into the lungs through an inhaler.  It helps reduce inflammation and prevents an asthma attack,” said Dr Kaushal.

How physical activity helps
Stressing on exercise and consuming a healthy diet to prevent asthma, Dr Kaushal, added, “Foods that are rich in Vitamin C, D and E are important. These include milk, eggs, beta carotene-rich vegetables such as carrots and leafy greens, and magnesium-rich foods like spinach and pumpkin seeds. Regular physical activity helps maintain good healthExercise increases endurance, reduces airway inflammation, improves lung function and cardiovascular health. Being overweight can worsen the symptoms. One should avoid sulfites and preservatives,” added Dr Kaushal.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.