Exercising is important for healthy lungs: Dr. Maydeo


Dr Dilip.V. Maydeo is a Consultant Pulmonologist at Nahar Medical Services. Dr Maydeo has been a medical advisor to the pharma & chemical industry. He has been undertaking clinical practice in Allergy Testing & Immunotherapy since 1990. He is also a part of various medical associations including the Indian Association for Bronchology. Recently he collaborated with IIT Powai for Asthma Product-Service Matrix for community care -2013.

His areas of expertise include disorders and allergies related to chest, lungs and respiratory system.

Dr. Maydeo answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat. Read the transcript below.

I am a worried father for my 9yr old son who has a friend who has asthma. They even play together. Not only this friend there might be others with asthma whom he might meet. How can I prevent my child from asthma? Any precautions.
Asthma is not contagious and non infectious so you need not worry.

Can a child with asthma play outdoor games?
Yes surely provided he is properly controlled.

Do pets like cats and dogs trigger asthma even in children?

Can the pregnant woman take some medications to avoid or prevent asthma in her to be born baby?
No such treatment is recommended currently.

Does the pregnant woman with asthma have some complications in her child delivery?
If uncontrolled then yes. Pre delivery pulmonary function testing will help in evaluating and guide performance during delivery.

What precautions should be taken by a pregnant woman suffering from asthma?
Avoid oral steroids if controlled, avoid antibiotics and other unsafe drugs.

Will the asthma be carried forward to the pregnant woman’s child too?
Not necessary.

My friend aged 35yrs has asthma. She is 3 months pregnant. How safe are asthma medications during pregnancy?
Most beta2agonist anticholinergics, and theophylline are safe. ICS in not more than 880 micrograms p/day, budesonide are safe.

Sir I have heard that asthma can easily be triggered by exercise. Please guide.
Only those who have EIV (Exercise induced Bronchospasm) will detoriate post exercise. Please evaluate by doing lung function pre and post exercise.

Is there any method to improve our breathing technique during the day as well as while we sleep? Thanks.
Pranayamic breathing technique of rechak purak and kumbhak with kapaalbhaati … all improve the breathing technique.

Is it true that most of us do not breathe right during the night when we sleep?
Yes if you have thick tongue then airway obstruction in the nose or the lungs or if you are obese, your breathing at night will not be normal.

Is yoga or cardio exercise better for our lungs when compared to weight training?
Both have to be done. Yoga will improve diaphragm function and weight training will improve shoulder girdle muscles. Both are necessary and hence complimentary.

How effective is exercise for our lungs?
Yes for healthy lungs exercise maintain lung function to normal to supranormal levels.

What generally make breathing problems worse?
Environmental tobacco smoke ETS, Food allergies, indoor pollution, dust mites, riflux disease and infections.

Hi Sir. I am suffering from productive cough for more than 2 years. Have seen Pulmonolgist, ENT specialist and even tried Homeopathy and Ayurvedic. None helped
Get your sputum smear culture antibiotic sensitivity test done and use the antibiotic against susceptible organisms for atleast 3 weeks to wipe out the pathogens thus preventing recurrent infections.

When is a chest pain considered to be really serious or needs to be diagnosed?

Sometimes after eating food there is a slight discomfort in the chest area. Is this normal?
It can be because riflux. Please walk around minimum hundred steps after dinner.

What can be the different causes to the uncomfortable feelings in the chest?
Please rule cardiac disease urgently.

Acidity though starts in the stomach, can it exceed to the chest or lungs sometimes? I do have an acidity problem. I am a female aged 37yrs.
Gastroesophageal reflects disease can induce bronchospasm and chronic hyperacidity can cause microaspirations and induce lung disease eventually if left untreated.

Is it normal if one feels a little breathless after cardio exercise or after climbing a few floors?
Any individual who is deconditioned is bound to feel breathless but with full training the breathlessness will reduced and sustainable.

Do all smokers get asthma or respiratory problems at some point of life?
Eventually yes.

Is severe acute respiratory syndrome controlled or cured?
It can be controlled and cured with prompt treatment.

What is severe acute respiratory syndrome? Is it a serious disease?
Yes it is a viral pneumonia and can become fatal especially in old age and chronic respiratory disease patients. Patients need to take ample rest and treatment from the expert.

The factors quoted from you are largely unmodifiable and please seek treatment from an expert pulmonologist.

And do all pulmonologists conduct the pulmonary test?
Yes some pulmonologists themselves conduct the test and the others consult a technician. Please go to pulmonologist who himself conducts the pulmonary test.

Can you please tell me how much does a pulmonary function test usually cost?
Around Rs. 500- Rs. 1000.

When does a pulmonary function test actually suggested?
Any evaluation of breathless and/ or cough or before employment.

What all should be kept in mind before going for a pulmonary test?
Please do not take heavy food before going for the testing and do not take any medicines before you go.

Hello Doctor Dilip, I wanted to know how is pulmonary test conducted? I want to take my father aged 61yrs for it as he has lately developed some breathing problems?
By a simple manoeuvre of breathing in and breathing out forcefully into a lung function machine. Please do not take heavy food before going for the testing and do not take any medicines before you go.


Are there any vaccinations for lung disease prevention? For what age group?
Allergy vaccines for asthma and rhinitis, bacterial vaccine eg: pneumococcal and influenza vaccine.

Pl guide on the prevention of tuberculosis?
Good nutrition, plenty of sunlight and evaluation of respiratory symptoms, if they continue for 3 weeks.

Is tuberculosis very infectious and contagious?
Yes it is not contagious but infectious and communicable.

What are the most common signs of Tuberculosis?
Cough, fever, weight loss.

dr I want to know when should a cough be considered to be serious?
If lasts for more than 3 weeks.

Sir I am 47yrs male. I have a tendency of going for basic health tests. Should all of us need to do a pulmonary function test done also after a particular age?
With lot of pollution around and allergies increasing and a likelihood of any surgery in future it is always better to do a baseline lung function done.

I am a auto immune disorder patient having rheumatoid arthritis and lung disorder.Taking treatment for last 7 years . Recently when ever I cough the right hand below elbow pains in the nerve and in bones. Any specifc reason?
Please rule out nerve entrapment by MRI studies.

Do all medications for asthma and emphysema have side effects?
Yes they can have acute as well chronic side effects if not guided properly by expert pulmonologist.

Is Emphysema fatal ?
Yes. It is difficult to isolate emphysema from chronic bronchitis. Severe chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema can become fatal due to inadequate treatment.

Does Asthma often lead to Emphysema?
Progressive asthma and air trapping with violent coughing can induce emphysema.

Does being overweight also affect our pulmonary function?
Yes. Obesity drastically reduces forced vital capacity of the lung. Moreover because of the body mass oxygen supply may become relatively inadequate. Obesity also can give rise to OSA.

How much effect do cigarettes have on the lungs of a passive smoker?
The vulnerability to cigarette smokes is genetic in nature and hence passive smokers can suffer from cancers, asthma, bronchitis and even cardiac diseases. Moreover it is a leading cause of prematurity in new born. Pregnant women who are exposed to passive smoke deliver babies with smaller lungs.

How can I improve my lung health doctor?
By first measuring your lung capacity by lung function testing. And improving it by preventive and therapeutic interventions and avoiding dust, fumes, gases and allergens.

Do pulmonary diseases result out of emotional disturbances and imbalance?

Hello Dr Maydeo. What are the most common signs and symptoms of pulmonary diseases that one shouldn’t ignore?
Cough lasting for 4 weeks, any breathlessness which cannot be explained by other comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiac diseases, chest pain can be due to pleurisy.

How much does an environment contribute in Asthma occurrence?
Significantly. Macro as well as micro environmental factors can initiate and sustain Asthma and also complicate it.

If a father or mother has Asthma then is it that children will surely have it?
If you are having 4 children then one or two might suffer from Asthma.

Is Asthma not completely curable?
It is wrong to consider Asthma as a disease it is a disorder of the airways. It can become a disease due to misconception and wrong treatment.

Good afternoon doctor, Please guide on how asthma attacks be prevented?
If you are having allergies please get allergy skin testing done. Confirm it by blood test, avoid incriminating allergens or get desensitized. Also use ICS plus Laba devices to compliment immunotherapy.

Like smoking does alcohol also harm lungs? Is it ok to have a cigarette and alcohol twice a month?
Patients with pulmonary disease are discouraged from taking alcohol or smoking. Both together tend to decline lung function drastically. Alcohol causes microaspirations and nicotine in cigarette smoke is a ciliary poison.

Is taking steam or Sauna bath very good for the respiratory system?
The evaluation of steam and sauna needs to be done by pulmonary function testing and if it shows a decline post steam/sauna then it is not suitable to that individual.

Sir what are the main reasons for allergies to occur. Is this genetic or is it related to our diet?
Allergies are genetic in nature. However not every individual will be atopic and non atopic allergies which are non genetic in nature do occur. Food allergens give rise to a number of allergies and are incriminated upto one crore patients.

Sir is there any medication to avoid allergy with perfumes? I have a strong allergy to perfumes.
You can take antihistaminic drugs and/ or local or oral steroids. Having controlled the symptoms patch testing with the suspected cosmetic can confirm the allergy and it is to be avoided in future.

Is there any treatment for wheat allergy
Wheat allergy can be due to wheat proteins and wheat allergy can manifest as rhinitis and asthma or eczema or urticarial. Wheat allergy requires to be tested through blood by specific IgE levels or by skin testing using the prick method or intradermal injection method. The blood test takes around 4-5 days whereas the skin test can give you result in 15 mins. Following which the patient can be desensitized by weekly injections.