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Education and early medication can prevent Asthma attacks: Docs has an estimated 15-20 million asthmatics and doctors here feel that awareness and early diagnosis play a vital role in containing this chronic respiratory disease that has been surging fast in the last decade.

According to World Health Organisation estimates, between 100-150 million people worldwide suffer from asthma of which 15-20 million belong to India.

As per a WHO report on World Asthma Day today, the fundamental cause of asthma, that is characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing is not completely understood, but the strongest risk factors for developing asthma include indoor allergens like dust mites in bedding and carpets.

Outdoor allergens that may cause asthma include pollens, tobacco smoke and chemical irritants, it said.

Dr Prahlad Prabhudesai, Chest specialist at Lilavati Hospital here cautioned that there may be some people who do not show qualities like breathlessness but may still be suffering from ‘silent Asthma’, which cannot be prevented as it is a hereditary disorder.

“There is no medicine available to prevent asthma. Only the attacks can be prevented. There are some patients who do not show any qualities of being an asthmatic. People who frequently sneeze or periodically cough may also be asthmatic. They need to get a diagnosis done at the earliest,” he said.

Speaking to PTI, Dr. Vyanketesh Joshi, Chief Trustee of Siddh Dhyan Foundation said that one can have a better chance of controlling asthma if diagnosed early.

“Asthma cannot be cured but it can be controlled. People suffering from asthma can learn to identify and avoid the things that trigger an episode and educate themselves about medication. With proper treatment, people with asthma can have fewer and less severe attacks,” Dr Joshi said.

World Asthma Day is celebrated round the world on the first Tuesday of May. It was first celebrated by Global Initiative For Asthma (GINA) in 1998 after its first ‘World Asthma Meeting’ in 1998. The Day is celebrated in order to raise awareness among public worldwide about the precaution and prevention of this bronchial condition.

The theme of this year concentrates on cause and effects of asthma: ‘You Can Control Your Asthma’.


Diabetes has same effect as HIV on tuberculosis

CHENNAI: The combination of diabetes and tuberculosis doesn’t just complicate treatment ; the double disease could be as dangerous as having HIV/AIDS with TB. A new study has confirmed that diabetes can make the TB bacteria harder to treat, just as HIV/AIDS does.

A group of doctors from MV Hospital for Diabetes, who pored over records of tuberculosis patients registered in the government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram , found that at least 50% of TB patients had diabetes or pre-diabetes .

All patients were given medication under the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) programme, recommended by World Health Organisation for TB control. At the end of two months, doctors did a sputum test to see if medicines had brought down infection. Nearly 14% of patients with diabetes tested positive for TB compared to 3% of those without diabetes . After six months, doctors said 4% of TBdiabetes patients had not responded to treatment compared to 0.7% of those without diabetes.

The effect of diabetes on TB is similar to HIV on TB, said diabetologist Dr Vijay Vishwanathan , who led the research team. They will urge the government to integrate national programmes for TB and diabetes. “We must ensure that all TB patients are tested for diabetes and vice versa,” he said. According to the Union health ministry, 40% of Indians are TB carriers. At least 10% of people in India are diabetic and in cities like Chennai the incidence is 20%.

“The chances of TB recurrence are higher among diabetics. We are planning a larger study to determine a new treatment regimen, including better diagnosis methods for TB-diabetes patients,” said Dr Vishwanthan.

National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis director Soumya Swaminathan said they did a study among 100 patients with TB and diabetes and found that if sugar levels are under control, treatment outcomes are better. “This hardly happens. TB is diagnosed when patients are in their 40s, the same time when many learn they are diabetics as well,” she said.

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