Wednesday, July 17, 2024
HomeHealthcareShocking Stat - 40% of Global Asthma Mortality Strikes India

Shocking Stat – 40% of Global Asthma Mortality Strikes India

Raising awareness and prioritizing respiratory health nationwide can save millions of lives from the scourges of asthma

Respiratory afflictions loom large today, affecting millions, with an estimated 2.63 crore Indians grappling with acute respiratory diseases. Globally, asthma cases can swell by 100 million by 2025, demanding urgent awareness of these debilitating conditions.

Responding to this pressing need, the Indian Asthma Care Society (IACS), an NGO, started Asthma Bhawan on May 21, 1985, under the leadership of Dr. US Mathur and Dr. Virendra Singh. Its mandate: support asthma patients and lead the charge against tobacco, especially among the marginalized.

At the helm of innovation stands Dr. Nishtha Singh, Executive Director and Chest Consultant at Asthma Bhawan, Jaipur. Her pioneering work in respiratory medicine spans asthma, allergies, and immunotherapy. In 2016, she introduced Rajasthan to the cutting-edge Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS), marking a milestone in diagnostic capabilities.

Asthma Bhawan distinguishes itself as Rajasthan’s sole repository of the Burkard Spore Trap system, inaugurated in 2010. This groundbreaking technology offers daily pollen counts, publicly accessible via Asthma Bhawan’s website, revolutionizing allergy management in the region.

In an exclusive tête-à-tête with senior journalist P. Srinivasan from The Interview World, Dr. Nishtha Singh delved into the Burkard Spore Trap system, dissected the allergic dynamics of Holoptelea pollens, elucidated prevalent allergens in Rajasthan, and expounded on the stark realities contributing to India’s staggering asthma mortality rates. Her discourse unveils critical insights into respiratory health and strategic interventions.

Q: Could you please provide a detailed explanation of the Burkard Spore Trap system?

A: Asthma Bhawan, nestled in Vidhyadhar Nagar, Jaipur, emerges as Rajasthan’s trailblazing hub for respiratory care. It proudly pioneers the installation of the Burkard Spore Trap system atop its premises. In a landscape where neighboring states like Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh—barring Delhi—lack such cutting-edge technology, this facility stands unmatched.

The Burkard Spore Trap, an ingenious device crafted to meticulously monitor airborne pollen and spores, employs a sophisticated method of capturing these microscopic entities on a specialized filter membrane or coated slide. Following a meticulous 24-hour scrutiny under the lens of a microscope, comprehensive data is swiftly disseminated via the institution’s website. This timely information serves as a crucial alert system, particularly vital for individuals susceptible to allergies.

Furthermore, the forecast generated by this system holds sway across a sprawling 200-kilometer radius, ensuring communities are well-prepared against potential airborne allergens.

Q: Why is information about the pollens of Holoptelea integrifolia trees published annually?

A: Holoptelea pollen pervades the air from late February through May, persisting for a span of three months annually. In contrast to the year-round fluctuations of allergens from other plants and fungi, concentrations of Holoptelea pollen soar during the morning and evening hours. This knowledge is also pivotal for adopting precautionary measures.

In Jaipur, Holoptelea trees grace streets and public spaces abundantly, often exposing residents to health risks during their routine morning and evening strolls. Despite the evident health hazards posed by these trees, awareness of their allergenic effects remains surprisingly deficient, with governmental authorities endorsing their widespread planting.

Shockingly, around 10% of Jaipur’s asthma patients endure allergies triggered by Holoptelea pollen. Predictive forecasting becomes indispensable in empowering individuals to safeguard themselves—by retreating indoors, donning triple-layered masks that effectively cover the nose and mouth, and curtailing outdoor activities during the peak pollen season.

Q: Does Asthma Bhawan offer allergy testing services?

A: At our facility, we administer two pivotal allergy tests: the prick test and the CRD (Component Resolved Diagnostics) blood test. Pioneered in Rajasthan three years ago, CRD represents the pinnacle of diagnostic innovation. Remarkably, Asthma Bhawan offers this state-of-the-art test at an unparalleled price of Rs 10,000, the most economical in India. Elsewhere, the cost for CRD varies significantly, ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 37,000, underscoring our commitment to accessible healthcare.

Q: What are the most common types of allergies prevalent in Rajasthan?

A: The foremost allergies encompass rhinitis affecting the upper air passages, asthma impacting the lower respiratory tract, and allergic conjunctivitis affecting the eyes. Rhinitis, an inflammation within the nasal cavity, is provoked by allergens such as pollen and dust. Asthma also manifests as allergen-triggered inflammation and constriction of the airways, typically ameliorated by inhalers. To ascertain the gravity, allergy tests are conducted to pinpoint precise allergens, empowering individuals to adopt proactive preventive measures.

Q: Can exposure to pigeons’ feathers and droppings lead to respiratory diseases in humans?

A: In urban settings, particularly where pigeons roost on apartment balconies, there exists a profound health hazard. Their feathers and excrement can precipitate severe respiratory ailments, notably asthma and interstitial lung disease (ILD). Furthermore, the proliferation of fungi in damp household environments fosters conditions such as allergic bronchitis and pulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). Diligent maintenance to eradicate fungal growth is imperative to forestall ABPA. It is imperative to note that ILD is incurable, compelling patients to consider lung transplantation upon deterioration.

Q: Why aren’t lung function tests typically included in routine body check-ups alongside kidney and liver function tests, and what specific tests should be done to evaluate lung health?

A: An X-ray is imperative for visualizing lung health, while spirometry evaluates lung capacity by quantifying inhalation and exhalation volumes, delineating one’s respiratory capabilities. This examination elucidates the extent of air intake and expulsion, crucial metrics for pulmonary function assessment. Smokers, in particular, ought to undergo peak flow meter testing to gauge lung exhalation efficacy.

Q: What are the best practices and lifestyle changes to maintain and improve lung health?

A: The sustenance of robust lung health hinges on a trifecta: adhering to a balanced diet, breathing clean air, and embracing consistent physical exertion. Thus, it is advisable to integrate a regimen of brisk walking or jogging for 20 minutes daily (or 30 minutes if engaging in exercise five days weekly), alongside the conscientious practice of breathing exercises.

Q: What is the current prevalence rate of asthma among different age groups and regions in India?

A: Asthma afflicts 13% of India’s populace and 18% globally, yet the mortality rate in India surpasses. Shockingly, 40% of those succumbing to asthma are Indian.

Q: What factors contribute to the high asthma-related death rate among Indians?

A: Ignorance, inadequate diagnosis, improper inhaler use, and social stigma against inhalers exacerbate the issue. Furthermore, in rural areas, the dearth of trained experts and unavailability of spirometry tests compound the challenges in diagnosing and treating the condition.

Q: Do you have any additional suggestions?

A: Forecasting pollen and fungal levels, akin to weather forecasts, stands to greatly benefit countless allergy sufferers. Nevertheless, increasing the deployment of such machines nationwide would bolster awareness of pollen counts. In conclusion, these proactive measures are pivotal in mitigating the impact of pollen allergies and advancing public health.

The Burkard Spore Trap System - A Groundbreaking Innovation to Capture and Analyse Airborne Pollen and Spores, Major Contributors to Asthma
The Burkard Spore Trap System – A Groundbreaking Innovation to Capture and Analyse Airborne Pollen and Spores, Major Contributors to Asthma
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