Contributors to Asthma burden in India revealed

Chennai : The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study has estimated that India is home to over 30 million asthmatics, accounting for 13.09 per cent of the global burden. However, when it comes to mortality, India accounts for over 42 per cent of all global asthma deaths.Population-based studies done globally, have estimated that 20 to 70 per cent of patients with asthma remain undiagnosed and hence untreated.

The various contributory factors for underdiagnosis and undertreatment of asthma include lack of disease awareness, poor adherence to inhalation therapy, illiteracy, poverty, and social stigma.

Citing the GAN study, Dr M Harish, pulmonologist, Chennai Meenakshi, stressed on the importance of addressing the social stigma towards asthma. ‘When an asthmatic patient consults a doctor, only 71 per cent of doctors give the diagnosis of ‘Asthma’ as the name of their disease while close to a third (29 per cent) use other terminologies.’