10 percent of Pakistan children are asthmatic

Beenish Abbas

KARACHI: Around 10 percent of children are affected by Asthma in Pakistan and the number is increasing,' revealed health experts in a press briefing to mark Asthma awareness campaign in Pakistan.
"Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children and the most asthma-related deaths occur in low- and lower-middle income countries like Pakistan. In order to reduce the disease burden we need collaborative efforts aimed at creating awareness amongst people," said Dr. Javaid A. Khan, Consultant Chest Physician at AKUH and a prominent member of the Pakistan Chest Society while talking to the media.
"Around 5 percent of adults and 10 per cent of children are affected in our country. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 235 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. It is important to provide patients with appropriate education and skills in order to effectively manage their asthma. This is best achieved through a partnership between the patient and their health care providers," added Dr. Javaid.
He said there are some symptoms that should not be undermined since it is a heterogeneous disease, usually characterized by chronic airway inflammation.  It is defined by a history of respiratory symptoms such as wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough that varies over time and in intensity, alongside variable expiratory airflow limitation.
Dr. Nisar Ahmed Rao, Professor and HOD Pulmonology Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases DUHS and Vice President Pakistan Chest Society Sindh Chapter said that not only the patients but theirfamilies face much hardship and suffering during the course of this chronic disease which takes its toll on the quality of life of the patients. However, we can reduce the mental stress if we take early measures by consulting the doctor in time.
It is pertinent to mention that asthma may exert detrimental effects on numerous domains of life, including mental health and physical health, social relationships, employment & academic performance. In asthma, co-morbidities like anxiety and depression are the most common aspects of patients' psychopathology. Its treatment on earlier stage is very essential to control these health hazards, he suggested.
"The long-term goals of asthma treatment are to achieve good symptom control, maintain normal activity levels, reduce future risk of exacerbations and treatment side effects," he added.
Talking about management Dr. Sohail Akhtar, a Professor and senior chest specialist at Indus Hospital said that for best outcomes, regular daily controller treatment should be initiated as soon as possible after the diagnosis of asthma is made. While talking about its causes he said pollution, smoke and genetic reasons are the main factors behind asthma.