HYDERABAD: The growing air pollution and dust is increasing the number of allergic asthmatic patients in urban populace of Hyderabad and there is need of formulation of an effective strategy in controlling air pollution.
Eminent pulmonologist and Head of the Department of Pulmonology, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Jamshoro Dr Rashid Ahmed Khan expressed his concern over increasing allergic asthmatic disease in Hyderabad in an interview with APP on Thursday.
He said that smoke of increasing number of new and unfit vehicles as well as dust, which is in the air because of development work, were the main reasons for increasing allergic asthmatics among the residents of urban localities.
Dr Rashid Ahmed said the cigarette smoke, animal dander, mold spores, house dust, feather pillows, some foods, or any other sensitive substance, infections, emotional stress, fatigue, endocrine and climate changes are also the main sources of breaking the disease among the
people, he said.
He said that asthma is an allergic disorder that is characterized by spasm of the muscles in the walls of the small air passages to the lungs, which results in the shortness of breath and wheezing.
About symptoms, he informed that an attack may begin gradually; resulting in increasing respiratory distress and it could also begin dramatically with the onset of severe multiple symptoms such as tightness in the chest, difficulties in inhaling and exhaling and coughing. Feelings of suffocation and difficulty in speaking could also occur, he added.
Dr. Rashid said that asthma sufferers rarely die from an asthma attack, but the feeling of suffocation as their airways begin to close often makes them fear that they have already gasped their last breath.
He said that asthma is the disorder of the respiratory system in which the passages that enable air to pass into and out of the lungs periodically narrow, causing coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
This narrowing is typically temporary and reversible, but in severe attacks, asthma may result in death. Asthma most commonly refers to bronchial asthma, an inflammation of the airways, but the term is also used to refer to cardiac asthma, which develops when fluid builds up in the lungs as a complication of heart failure, Rashid Ahmed added.
He said that every cell in the human body requires oxygen to function and the lungs make that oxygen available and through every breath taken by the people, air travels to the lungs through a series of tubes and airways.
Dr. Khan informed that after passing through the mouth and throat, air moves through the larynx, commonly known as the voice box and then through the trachea or windpipe.
He said that asthma attacks occur when the bronchi and bronchioles become inflamed, reducing the space through which air can travel through the lungs and this causes the asthmatic to work harder to move air in and out of the lungs.
Dr. Rashid Ahmed said frequency of asthma attacks varies considerably among asthma sufferers. Some people have daily attacks, while others can go months or even years without having an attack.
He said that common causes of asthma attacks are extremely small and lightweight particles transported through the air and inhaled into the lungs and when they enter the airways, these particles, known as environmental triggers, cause an inflammatory response in the airway walls, resulting in an asthma attack, he added.
He said that asthma also occurs among those people who do not have allergies and in these persons, chemical irritants trigger an inflammatory response that is initiated in a different way than in allergen-triggered asthma.
For example, some people are sensitive to certain common chemical irritants, such as perfume, hairspray, cosmetics, and household cleaners, he pointed out.