Cipla creates awareness about asthma this world asthma day

With 262 million people globally affected by asthma, this year's World Asthma Day theme 'Asthma Care for All' aims to promote effective disease management through better access to quality medication and healthcare resources. This year's theme strongly resonates with the current asthma situation in India. The disease is estimated to affect more than 30 million people (3 crore) in the country with the majority remaining undiagnosed or undertreated. Further the country’s asthma deaths make up a large portion (42%) of the global total, even though it accounts for only 13% of the cases worldwide. This is mainly due to insufficient disease awareness and misconceptions regarding inhaler therapy.

Asthma is a widespread noncommunicable disease (NCD) that affects individuals of all ages and is the most common chronic disease among children.1 This condition causes the airways to narrow, swell, and produce excessive mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Inhalation therapy is an essential component of asthma management. Unfortunately, misconceptions regarding this therapy often lead to patients with asthma refusing or failing to follow their physician’s recommendations .

Talking about the general perception of asthma in the country, while also highlighting the need for disease awareness and treatment acceptance Dr. K. Bharathi Babu, Consultant Pulmonologist, Madurai said, “Asthma in India is plagued by social stigma, misconceptions, and myths with only about 23% of patients in India calling their condition by its actual name5. This resistance to label their condition contributes to the under-diagnosis of the disease in the country, where 70% of severe asthma cases remain clinically undiagnosed5. Furthermore, these challenges make it difficult for patients to seek medical help in a timely manner, which can prevent them from taking control of their condition early on. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for the long-term management of chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and hence these challenges need to be addressed to help improve patient outcomes.”

Adding on, Dr. Prem Ananth P., Senior Consultant Pulmonologist, Madurai said, “Even though inhalation therapy is the cornerstone of asthma management - in India, the social stigma associated with inhalers has further added to the mismanagement of the disease. This is especially true among children, where parents often conceal the condition and therefore avoid or delay treatment until symptoms worsen. Infact among doctor-diagnosed patients, inhalation therapy usage stands at less than 9%5. Adding to these existing challenges is poor access to healthcare, cost of treatment, inadequate resources, and appropriate guidance to help facilitate the recognition of warning signs as well as proper device technique4. Overcoming these challenges in India requires a shift in perspective toward both, asthma as well as its recommended treatments.”

Providing sufficient empowerment and consistent support to patients can foster a positive change in attitude and behaviour towards asthma. Public and patient awareness initiatives like Cipla’s #BerokZindagi campaign are important platforms that engage the masses through social conversations and combat misinformation through well-informed dialogue. However, this can only be made possible if awareness efforts are adequately met by an ecosystem that enables better access to healthcare support like Cipla’s Breathefree program. Encompassing the complete patient journey in the areas of screening, counselling, and treatment adherence - programs like these are important to help patients manage their lung health better.

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