Monday, October 19th, 2009

Respiratory Health

1. I suffer from asthma but it is under control, so much so that I forget about inhalers. But, my problem exacerbates when I take my annual vacation in the month of July. When I visit a hill station for two days I will be suffering from running nose and will have breathing difficulty. Can you tell me why this happens, and how can I tide over it?

Dr. Himanshu Garg, Consultant Respiratory Medicine at Max Hospitals, Saket answers your queries–

Answer: Asthma management has two major components relievers and preventers. A good preventive strategy would ensure little need and use of relievers. This however has to be done under strict medical supervision of a physician who would help you with Asthma action plan. If you are getting worse during a particular season/situation the preventive medications can be ramped up just before the particular season/situation, this again can be incorporated in the action plan.

2. I was a heavy smoker but now I have quit. Can you tell me how much time my lungs will take to overcome the damage inflicted by smoking?

Answer: It will depend on how heavily you have smoked and for how long. It will also depend on how much damage you have already sustained to your lungs which can be found out by carrying Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT). For reasons that are not entirely clear different individuals have different vulnerability to smoking related damage to lungs. There is some evidence to suggest that the earlier you quit in terms of age more likely the damage be overcome. There is suggestion that it takes around a decade for the physiological capacity of the lung to come back to normal after quitting smoking.

3. Whenever I switch on TV in the morning, I see scores of people doing breathing exercises. I would like to know which exercises you would recommend to energize lungs.

Answer: There are no breathing exercises to my knowledge which have been proven to energize lungs. Indian streams of medicine especially Ayurveda do lay a lot of stress on these. However, in the allopathic stream of medicine enough research has not been done to explore the benefits of yoga and similar exercises, however yoga is likely to be useful if learnt correctly in a supervised environment.

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Category: Health Faqs
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