Asthma is a condition in which the tube-like passages that carry oxygen to your lungs swell and become narrow. This makes breathing difficult and causes coughing and wheezing. Luckily, for most people, asthma episodes are mild and occasional and hence do not interfere with their day-to-day functioning. For others, asthma episodes can be frequent and severe enough to be life-threatening. Although there is no cure for asthma, it can be well controlled. Myths and misconceptions hinder asthma management leading to avoidable suffering.
Here we clarify some common misconceptions about asthma.
Myth 1: Asthma is not a serious disease
TRUTH: Asthma is a serious disease. In severe cases, it can be life-threatening and even fatal. Asthma patients are strongly advised to follow their doctor’s advice regarding treatment and carry emergency medications, if advised to do so.
Myth 2: Inhaled steroids are very dangerous
TRUTH: The word steroid brings up all kinds of negative associations in the minds of people. For this reason, patients frequently avoid using inhaled steroids as prescribed. However, inhaled corticosteroid medications have a relatively low risk of side effects if compared with oral corticosteroids, and are generally safe for long-term use.
Myth 3: People with asthma should not exercise
TRUTH: A person with controlled asthma can very much exercise. Children with controlled asthma can run and play like all the other kids. As long as exercise does not expose you to your known asthma triggers, like cold and dry air, there is no reason to avoid it.
Myth 4: Asthma can be managed without medications
TRUTH: Asthma management plans rely on a combination of medicines for immediate relief and those that prevent recurrent episodes. Medicines are a safe and effective way to control asthma. Any alternative method that excludes medicines should not be attempted without your doctor’s knowledge and consent. Medicines used for asthma management are not addictive by any means. The doses can be lowered or stopped at any time as advised by your doctor, depending on the frequency and severity of episodes.
Myth 5: You can’t have asthma if your parents never had it
TRUTH: You have a 6% chance of having asthma if neither parent has the condition; a 30% chance if one parent has it; and a 70% chance if both parents have it.
For any query related to asthma and other respiratory concerns, consult our Internal Medicine Specialist at www.healthcaremagic.com