Asthma Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Insurance | Royal Sundaram
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs in which the airways narrow, swell, and produce extra mucus. Asthma can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
As many different factors come together to cause asthma, there are many different types of the disease, based on age and severity. For some people, asthma may be a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a severe problem that may interfere with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Types of Asthmas include Childhood asthma, Adult-onset asthma, Occupational asthma, Seasonal asthma, Difficult-to-control and severe asthma. Children are more likely to have an irregular form of asthma that comes in the form of attacks. However, Asthma in adults is usually persistent and requires daily administration to prevent symptoms. Allergies lead to at least 30% of adult asthma. Obesity is a strong risk factor for adult-onset asthma, and women are likely to develop the condition after the age of 20 years.
What are the symptoms of Asthma?
Asthma symptoms differ from person to person. An individual may have infrequent asthma attacks and have symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or have symptoms all the time.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Trouble in sleeping caused by shortness of breath or coughing
- A whistling sound when exhaling
- Coughing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Indications that your asthma is probably worsening include:
- Increasing difficulty in breathing (measured by a peak flow meter, a device used to check how well your lungs are working)
The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often than usual
To diagnose asthma, the doctor will discuss an individual's medical history and perform a physical exam. Individual may require a lung function test and other tests, such as a chest or sinus X-ray. If a child is having problems breathing regularly, don't wait! Visit a doctor immediately.
If the doctor thinks that an individual may have asthma, they will do a physical exam. They will inspect ears, eyes, nose, throat, skin, chest and lungs.
Lung function tests:
To confirm asthma, the doctor may have an individual take one or more breathing tests known as lung function tests. These tests measure your breathing. The doctor may also prescribe a trial with asthma medicine to see if it helps.
Lung function tests used to detect asthma include:
- Peak airflow
- FeNO tests (exhaled nitric oxide)
- Provocation tests
Asthma Treatment & Cost in India
Various tests can help to diagnose asthma are available in India. The tests involved are spirometry, peak expiratory flow, and chest x-ray. Post a proper diagnosis, a doctor is likely to prescribe some medications and will urge the person to make some changes in his/her lifestyle.
Other methods to treat asthma:
- One way of medication is preventers. Corticosteroid medications help reduce swelling and lessen the body’s reaction to triggers.
- Short-acting relievers. A patient can take combination inhalers that contain the properties of both the preventer and symptom controller medications in one device.
- Other inhalers - Corticosteroids, Leukotriene modifiers, Long-acting beta-agonists, combination inhalers, and Theophylline.
- Bronchial Thermoplasty for the patients that do not respond to any of the above medication.
What is the expense of the treatment in India?
The cost of fluticasone, which is an inhaled corticosteroid, is around Rs. 1,100 for 16 grams. Short-acting beta agonists may cost around Rs. 650 – Rs. 4,000. Symptom controllers like Foradil may cost roughly around Rs. 4,500 for 12-15 capsules. The costs of check-ups and consultations at a doctor’s clinic will vary. Bronchial thermoplasty is an expensive procedure and can cost around Rs. 10 lakhs.
Insurance in India
Patients who are suffering from similar diseases are well aware of how costly the treatment for these diseases can be. Investing in health insurance, subject to medical underwriting will help them significantly reduce their out-of-pocket expenses.
Here are few key points to be considered while looking for health insurance plans:
- Coverage limits - Medical inflation rate is rising exponentially year-on-year. Buying a health insurance plan will keep an individual covered against such eventualities.
- Research prior buying an insurance plan as medical coverage might have different terms associated with it. Understand those terms clearly before signing the final deal.
- Pay attention to the pre-existing coverage & ratio of claims approved by the insurance company before finalizing.
Primary reasons to buy a health plan – Medical conditions when severe may require extensive hospitalization. This might result in a financial instability and can affect an individual’s lifetime savings if he/she has not invested in a health insurance plan.
Most common diseases in India
The healthcare industry is continuously revolutionizing with its broad range of products and services. Consumers are turning health conscious. However, excessive workload, fast-paced lifestyle and raising alterations in the environment have severely affected the wellness of people in India.
The diseases, for which maximum health insurance claims are taken, in India:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Respiratory diseases
- Tumours and malignant
- Digestive diseases
- Fever and infections (especially malaria)
- Unintentional Injuries
- Diarrheal Diseases