Obesity aggravates the symptoms of asthma and makes it even harder to control, which is crucial for the patient's overall health and an important step in treating the chronic disease, Turkish doctor says.
Pulmonologist Füsun Şahin from Istanbul's Health Sciences University told Anadolu Agency (AA) that quitting smoking and losing weight made it easier to control the symptoms of asthma.
Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by the inflammation of the air passages, which causes temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs, creating symptoms like recurrent dyspnea, coughing wheezing, shortness of breath and pressure and tightness in the chest when a patient tries to breathe.
Şahin pointed out that unfortunately in Turkey "more than 10 percent of asthma patients are still smoking and 30 or 40 percent are obese."
The cough seen in the asthma patients is different than the regular cough as it is persistent, recurrent, dry and strong enough to wake a person from his/her sleep.
Noting that the aim of the treatment is to ensure a good control of asthma symptoms and to maintain this condition, Şahin said the main indicators thatthe disease had been taken under control was a lack of coughing fits or asthma attacks that occur day and night, and enabling a patient to do his/her daily activities without difficulty.
Şahin also said that since asthma may differ from patient to patient or depending on time, it needed to be approached differently than other chronic diseases, adding "it is very important to individualize the treatment method for each patient."
"Increasing physical activity especially in childhood contributes positively to the treatment," said Şahin, adding that with regular work out habits, visits to emergency rooms at hospitals can be reduced.
Emphasizing that the disease is caused by genetic predisposition and environmental factors, while the presence of allergic diseases in parents can also increase the risk of developing asthma in children, Şahin warned that infections, cigarette smoke and air pollution were the biggest triggers of allergies, and asthma cases worldwide had been increasing gradually over the years due to these factors.