What are the common misconceptions about asthma?
Chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure etc. have no cure. They can be managed and controlled.
A person who has such a disease usually explores all avenues looking for an elusive “cure”. He seeks information from all quarters like friend, relatives or other patients and through the internet. The information that he thus gets, no doubt well meaning, is often confusing and sometimes even dangerously misleading.
The common misconceptions or myths about asthma are:
- Asthma is a psycho-somatic disease
- Asthma is an infectious disease.
- Inhalers are habit forming.
- Inhaled steroids have dangerous side effects.
- Asthmatics should not take part in sports activities.
- Children always “outgrow” asthma at puberty.
- Asthma is not in the head. The problem lies in the air tubes of the lungs, which are over sensitive. However, it is true, that emotional upsets can be a trigger of asthma in some asthmatics.
- Asthma cannot be passed on to another by contact or sharing food etc. If that was the case, I as an asthma doctor, would surely have got it by now !! Yes it does run in the family, but the transmission is through genes.
- Inhalers are simply a method of delivering the medicine at the right place very effectively. They are a remedy. Asthma is usually a lifelong condition.
- In the usual doses that they are used, inhaled steroids are very safe. A very small dose goes directly in the air tubes with very little being absorbed into the blood stream. If inhaled steroid s are not used and the asthma is uncontrolled; then the consequence are far more serious.
- A person whose asthma is well controlled can take part in all sport activities. In fact, many Olympic medallists have been asthmatics and asthma has not prevented them from performing well at the international level. Saurabh Ganguly has asthma: that does not prevent him from playing at the international level.
- Some children do; some don’t. It is not an invariable rule that children outgrow asthma. Boys are more likely to do so than girls. If a child has asthma, it must be treated- one cannot withhold treatment in the hope that it will eventually vanish.