Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chronic asthmatics spend more than they should on medicare thanks to improper treatment modalities

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Chronic asthmatics are spending an extra Rs 22,000
each per year, thanks to doctors and patients not following the
government guidelines on treatment of this major health issue. An
asthmatic need to spend just Rs 4253 per year on medicines and related
costs as per current prices, but on an average the patient now spends
Rs 26,087. This amount is likely to shoot up to Rs 31,045 in the next
five years with each asthmatic spending Rs 26,000 more than what he

Research by a leading charitable hospital in the city for the World
Health Organisation (WHO) showed that adoption of the official
guidelines for asthma management by health providers would result in a
drastic reduction of health care expenditure by families of asthma
patients. It would also help in reducing morbidity levels in a short
span of time and improve the quality of life of asthma patients.
Strict adherence to guidelines will bring down the over all economic
burden of the disease on the country by about five times.

“The problem of asthma can be easily managed when it is in the mild
stage. In fact, 90 per cent of these cases are mild and can be
successfully handled at primary health care centres. This will reduce
the financial burden on patients,” pointed out the WHO document based
on a research survey in Hyderabad and surrounding areas.

The annual economic burden of chronic asthma in the country is
estimated at Rs 10,312 crore and this is likely to increase to Rs
13,525 crore by 2016. Children attending schools located in areas with
high and low traffic zones showed different levels of asthma
prevalence with 19.34 per cent of affluent students and 31.11 per cent
of less affluent students in heavy traffic zones showing asthma. Only
11.15 per cent of affluent students in low traffic zones suffer from
the problem.

It also revealed that the incidence of asthma was 18.79 per cent if
one of the parents had asthma, 1.65 per cent if one of the siblings
had asthma, and 4.12 per cent, if the grandparents had the disease.
About one-fifth of the children seem to suffer from food-related
asthma. The most blamed offenders are grapes (57 per cent), bananas
(53 per cent), guavas (51 per cent), citrus fruits (28 per cent), ice
cream (21.5 per cent), fried foods (19 per cent) and tomatoes (12.5
per cent).

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