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Myths and facts about Asthma


Asthma is a respiratory condition that can affect both children and adults. In layman's terms, asthma is usually thought of as a lung disease that causes the airway to become narrow and inflammation. Further, asthma triggers can also cause swollen airways producing an excess of mucus that stands responsible for breathing difficulty.


Myth: The symptoms of asthma remain are same for everyone


The effect of asthma is not the same for everyone with asthma symptoms. Different individuals may showcase different symptoms ranging from chest tightness to wheezing, coughing, and fatigue. You should take note of such symptoms to seek medical assistance accordingly. The symptoms of asthma may vary from mild to severe symptoms. They should be administered by a doctor according to how it affects a particular person to better manage the asthma condition of a patient.


Myth: People with asthma symptoms should skip exercises


People usually believe that exercise and workouts can elevate asthma, but in reality, regular exercise is beneficial for people with asthma symptoms. Exercising, in fact, improves and strengthens the functioning of the lungs. Exercising also helps in keeping control of your weight, which is effective in managing asthma.

In some cases, exercising can trigger asthma, but doctors usually suggest such patients use albuterol before working out and suggest keeping it handy while exercising. Also, warm-up and cool-down sessions are suggested before the start and end of physical activities simultaneously.


Myth: Asthma cannot turn out to be fatal


Though fatality cases in asthma are rare, asthma can turn out to be chronic. If asthma is left untreated, asthma condition can worsen and can even end up being fatal. On the contrary, asthma flare-ups are rare, but they can be life-threatening at times. In order to manage asthma, regular medications can be taken as prescribed by doctors to prevent asthma attacks and reduce inflammation. The treatment may vary based on the frequency and severity of the patient's condition, which can help manage asthma triggers.


Myth: Inhalers have side effects and can prove to be addictive and thus should be avoided


Many people feel scared of using inhalers and think them to be addictive, but you need to know that inhalers can help in reducing airway inflammation and also improves pulmonary function. They are highly effective and ease the symptoms of asthma and thus should be taken as per the prescription of the doctor for asthma prevention. Usage of inhalers has also shown a considerable decline in the number of hospitalization and fatality cases. But most asthma patients have a stigma in their minds about inhalers and tend to avoid using them and use oral medications instead.


Myth: Asthma should be treated only when you start witnessing symptoms


Most people wait till the last moment unless they start witnessing some significant asthma symptoms to get an asthma diagnosis and treatment. But, in reality, asthma should be controlled with regular treatment and medications as prescribed by the doctor. There are some medicines that provide relief to asthma patients when they get an asthma attack. But, under the guidance of a specialist, long-term asthma control medications should be taken to prevent such an attack.


Myth: No wheezing means no asthma


Wheezing is a prevalent and noticeable symptom of asthma. Wheezing produces a whistle-like sound while breathing, which is caused due to the passage of air through a narrowed airway. Wheezing happens due to the constriction of airways and inflammation, which can make it difficult for a person to breathe properly.

But in reality, asthma can also flare up in the absence of wheezing. Generally, the noise of wheezing is audible to normal ears, but in some cases, when the asthma attack is severe, the sound can only be heard using a stethoscope. So, if wheezing doesn't occur, it doesn't mean that asthma has turned out to be inactive.


Myth: Asthma is just a childhood disease


Many people believe that asthma is a childhood disease and doesn't persist till adulthood. Though it is a fact that children are affected by asthma in huge numbers, it doesn't mean that asthma is usually outgrown. Asthma can even occur in adulthood. With growing age, your lungs tend to strengthen and bring improvement in your immune system, but if you have an asthma family history and are sensitive to allergens, there are high chances that your asthma symptoms may trigger even when you grow up as an adult.




There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about asthma that are prevalent in our society. But in order to prevent yourself from a sudden asthma attack and to manage your asthma condition effectively, it is necessary that you get yourselves acquainted with the facts to get appropriate treatment without any delay. With proper treatment and management of asthma, people with asthma symptoms can lead a normal, active, and healthy life.



Dr Debdutta Bandhopadhay
Respiratory & Sleep Medicine
Meet The Doctor
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