Importance of accurate reporting of symptoms

Understanding your medical condition is an essential key to the success of a medical treatment. You should never ever fail to observe, remember and report closely and promptly to your doctor any sensation or change in your bodily function, known as ‘symptom’ that you experience.

The treatment may not work or may lead to complications, if your inputs are inaccurate, partial or reported very late. Treatment could be anything from avoidance of food substances, to pharmaceutical therapy or even surgery.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease that troubles you for long, creating difficulties in your breathing. The small tubes called bronchi carry the air you breathe in and out of your lungs. They may get irritated due to some substances like animal fur, cigarette smoke, and household dust that can cause allergies.

The bronchi when irritated become red, swollen, painful and narrow, choked by sticky internal secretions called mucus. This is when you feel short of breath, and hear a whistling sound in your chest during breathing. Approximately, 300 million Indians suffer from this illness, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The following are some of the common myths about asthma, and the corresponding facts are given below each.

Myth: Treatment of asthma with inhalers is harmful, and should be taken only when necessary.

Fact: Inhalers are of many types and rarely ever cause any serious harm. If anything, they help you get vital relief from asthma. That is why they are called rescue inhalers.

Myth: Inhalers should be used only when asthma is bad.

Fact: Inhalers should be used regularly as per medical advice to avoid permanent lung damage. It is quite necessary, if asthma has been diagnosed on the basis of your medical history, followed by physical exams and a lung function test.

Myth: Eating yogurt or curd worsens asthma.

Fact: There is no real evidence to prove this to be a fact. Some patients eat curd and have no problem, while in the case of others it seems to cause difficulties. A trial in each patient’s case should be done before deciding for or against it.

Myth: Eating sour fruits causes difficulty in breathing.

Fact: Again there is no evidence for this opinion. However, the Vitamin C content in such fruits should help get relief from lung airway congestion.

Myth: Use of air-conditioners worsens asthma.

Fact: There are different aspects of the use of air-conditioning, which need to be considered carefully. An air-conditioner can reduce humidity and cause dryness of indoor air; this may lead to your discomfort, if you are asthmatic.

In general, AC filters in most homes are not cleaned regularly, and the system itself is not maintained properly. It is poor maintenance of the machine that leads to poor indoor air quality, which aggravates asthma. If your asthma is under good medical control, a regularly cleaned and well-maintained AC by itself should not aggravate asthma.

Myth: Ayurvedic medication is better than Allopathic or vice versa.

Fact: There are no well-documented and reliable studies that compare the merits and demerits of the two systems of medicine. In the absence of evidence to support this opinion, the superiority of one system over the other cannot be established. Whatever works better for a particular patient is the better system of medicine for that patient.

As an informed patient, you should be guarded against all myths in the field of medicine. It would be better for you to discover the fact against each such myth, and take all precautions for living a healthy and happy life.



Article by Dr. Supriya Sundaram, Pulmonologist at Kauvery Hospital.