The burden of asthma in India, the World’s most populous country

Dr Nishtha Singh, Asthma Bhawan, Jaipur, India

Indians constitute a notable 13% of the global population affected by asthma, yet their impact on asthma-related mortality is disproportionately high, contributing to an alarming 42% of such cases. This stark incongruity highlights a pressing need for a comprehensive investigation into the factors underlying this discrepancy. A potential avenue for garnering deeper insights lies in the utilization of Indian GAN data. A closer examination of the data underscores a significant underdiagnosis challenge, where only a quarter of asthma cases receive a formal diagnosis, leaving a substantial 75% of cases undiagnosed. This revelation suggests that a considerable portion of the Indian population may be grappling with asthma without the awareness or medical attention required.

Furthermore, the analysis reveals a troubling under-treatment trend. Among diagnosed individuals, a mere 30% (of the 25% diagnosed) are using Inhaled Corticosteroids (ICS) as part of their treatment regimen. In stark contrast, the undiagnosed group, comprising 75% of cases, sees an alarming figure of under 2.7% utilizing ICS. This underscores not only a gap in diagnosis but also a significant deficit in the effective management of diagnosed cases. These findings offer invaluable insights that could play a pivotal role in bridging the existing gap between the prevalence of asthma and its mortality rate in India.