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Saturday, 08 December 2012 16:53

About 300 million people suffer from Asthma globally: Indian Health Minister

Some 300 million people suffer from asthma globally. It also causes about 250,000 persons deaths annually, said India’s Union Health and Family Affairs Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday in Hyderabad.

Highlighting the massive rise in allergic diseases across the world, Azad said combined efforts should be made by experts from different countries to address the issue.

The Indian minister while addressing the inaugural program of the World Allergy Organisation's four-day international scientific conference at Hyderabad said, “According to the World Health Organization the number of asthmatic patients is expected to increase to 400 million by 2025.

Some 400 million people suffer from rhi-ni-tis, 200 to 250 million people suffer from food allergies and one tenth of the population suffers from drug allergies. Allergic diseases include life-threatening conditions like ana-phy-laxis, food allergies, certain forms of asthma, rhi-ni-tis, angio-edema, skin allergies, eo-sino-philic disorders, including eo-sino-philiceso-pha-gitis, and drug and insect allergies”.

The scourge of Diabetes, Cardio-Vascular Diseases, Cancer and Chronic Respiratory Diseases is posing a mounting challenge to health care practitioners, administrators and policy makers in terms of the increasing complexity of treatment, life-long management and rising demand for more resources. Alarmed by the rising incidence of the non-communicable diseases and its impact on the health care delivery, the Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control was held in Moscow in April 2011 followed by the high level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2011.

The Special Session of UN General Assembly was attended by Heads of State, Heads of Government and Health Ministers from across the Globe. As Health Minister, he was able to outline the concrete steps taken by India to prevent and control the Non-Communicable Disease which have emerged as the leading cause of disease, disability and death worldwide.

He said 20 to 30 per cent of people in India are having one or more allergic diseases and their prevalence is rising day by day. Taking children and adults together, there are nearly 30 million Asthmatics in India today, which constitutes about 10 per cent of the global burden of Asthma. A study on Epidemiology of Asthma, Respiratory Symptoms and Chronic Bronchitis, called INSEARCH, sponsored by the Indian Council of Medical Research in 2012 revealed that Asthmatics above the age of 15 years alone number more than 17 million. This is commonly associated with Allergic Rhi-ni-tis. Food Allergies as well as Skin Allergic disorders are also seen in India.

Increased urbanisation, altered lifestyles and food habits and increase in environmental pollution play a role in causing an increase in allergic diseases. While the true burden of allergic diseases and the expertise to care for these diseases is still an unmet need in many countries, the World Allergy Organization made various efforts to advance the scientific and clinical expertise related to these diseases in over 94 countries. The White Book of the World Allergy Organization on Allergy summarizes the burden of disease, risk factors, impact on quality of life of patients, their socio-economic consequences, treatment, future therapies and the cost-benefit analyses of care services.

Azad said the upsurge in the prevalence of allergies is observed as societies become more affluent and urbanized. Environmental risk factors like outdoor and indoor pollution combined with reduced biodiversity also contribute to this rise in prevalence. Allergic diseases occur together in the same individual and persons with allergic diseases like asthma and co-morbid non-communicable diseases like diabetes, obesity and gastro-esophageal reflux leading to more complex situations and worse outcomes associated with these complications. This requires greater awareness of allergic disorders, their underlying causes, diagnosis and treatment, particularly for primary care physicians and specialists. Owing to burden-some health care costs, disability, absenteeism, and loss of income, allergic diseases result in a substantial socio-economic burden to the affected families. Because of their multiple interacting causes and complications, as well as their lifelong chronic nature, allergic diseases challenge current paradigms of health care organization and delivery.

 

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