ASTHMA: A severe asthma clinic was launched by the health minister Vishwajit Rane at Manipal Hospital in the presence of the medical director Dr Shekar Salkar and administrative and medical staff or the hospital.

By Tara Narayan

AS medical science advances the focus is on new and newer drugs and special clinics dedicated to single disease syndromes. Take asthma, we all know what it is and how it can take a toll on normal life. Many of us suffer from breathing problems along with other health problems if we live in polluted environments (which most of us seem to be doing these days), where the quality of air, water, food and stress is questionable.
The corporate hospitals have much to offer patients nowadays be way of the latest treatments — be it asthma or diabetes. Their new Advanced Care Precision Clinic for those suffering from severe asthma was inaugurated by Dr Uday Kakodkar, HOD of Pulmonary Medicine, Goa Medical College & Hospital, on May 7, 2022. From the sound of it there are several kinds of asthma and asthma doesn’t remain simple asthma, and progresses if not treated or badly treated, to severe asthma which makes it difficult for the patient to breathe with the conventional treatment. When simple asthma is no longer simple asthma as we understand it is called refractory asthma.
The new severe asthma clinic was launched on World Asthma Day (May 7) in the presence of “miracle asthma doctor” Dr Prabhu Prasad (interventional pulmonologist at Manipal) and other dignitaries including Surendra Prasad (director, Manipal Hospital), Hari Prasad (head of sales/marketing), Dr Aditya Gosawi (medical superintendent) Dr Prashant Agrawal and others from the doctors fraternity.
According to Dr Prabhu Prasad, “Not all asthma is the same and there’s more than drugs for treating asthma. People with severe asthma need special attention to alleviate their suffering. We take one step further in our precision clinic where our group of special asthma patients are systematically assessed…to determine the patient’s asthma phenotype, to understand the type of severe asthma and if the patient qualifies for asthma biologics therapy or bronchial thermoplasty.”
Bronchial thermoplasty is reportedly the newest drug injection therapy which eases and enables a badly affected asthma patient breathe normally. The injection is given every two or four weeks and later once a month if all goes well. According to severe asthma patient present Chandra Shekar (a civil engineer) who was present at the function, he was suffering severely from allergies in 2021 when his asthma worsened. He decided to consult Dr Prabhu Prasad at Manipal Hospital, “It’s a one year course of injections and I am already feeling better after the first three injections…” He mentioned a drug called Benalizumab or Fasenra which are reportedly the wonder drugs for treating severely afflicted asthma patients. The drugs are expensive of course and will burn your pockets!
Responding to a query the genial Dr Prasad said asthma and allergies grow given the congested living conditions we live in urban areas, “It’s also all to do with blood eosinophil and white blood cell counts and biology of the patient from birth…” Yes, even obesity plays a role along with other factors. Three to five per cent eosinophil count is normal but not beyond eight to 10% and “beyond 300 puts body into severe pathology mode.” Then patients have to be treated aggressively.
According to Dr Prasad 260 million people suffer from asthma worldwide and he is sorry to say 50% are children. The quality of air, water, food, living conditions and stressed out lifestyles all play a role in the patient’s recovery or further deterioration. Cities are really not nice places to live happily ever after. Get out as soon as you can!

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