Dramatic increase in asthma, allergies

DUBAI — Allergic rhinitis affects up to 25 per cent of the world’s population, with asthma making up 75 per cent of cases. In the Gulf region alone, respiratory allergies afflict 23 per cent of the population, while asthma afflicts 14 per cent. These alarming figures were presented during an allergy symposium held in Dubai.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 16 Apr 2005, 9:57 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:04 PM

Allergy experts gathered earlier this month for a two-day symposium titled “Paradigms in Allergy: Beyond Symptom Control”, held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel. The symposium was attended by 100 medical experts and clinical researchers from the Gulf region and Europe.

The chairman of the symposium, Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman, Head of the ENT Department at the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms), said: “There is a dramatic increase of respiratory allergies and asthma throughout the Gulf region, which has reached 23 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.”

Dr Abdul Rahman added that respiratory conditions such as allergic rhinitis, which is an inflammation of the nose, surrounding sinuses and eyes caused by pollen in the air, often referred to as hay fever, are common and affect from 10 to 25 per cent of populations world wide with increasing prevalence. Allergic rhinitis symptoms include runny nose, nasal blockage, nasal itching and sneezing.

Although allergic rhinitis is not considered a life-threatening condition, it negatively impacts school performance of children and work productivity of adults. Additionally, if left untreated, it may result in serious diseases such as asthma and sinusitis.

International and regional speakers covered many topics including improving knowledge on allergy treatment. The programme of the meeting focused on recent research and case studies on the latest advances in allergy management.

Professor Livije Kalogjera, Chairman of the Ear, Nose and Throat Department at Sestre Milosrdince Hospital, University of Zagreb in Croatia, highlighted the consequences of uncontrolled allergic rhinitis, such as rhino-sinusitis and nasal polyposis.

The second keynote speaker was Dr Osman Yusuf from Pakistan, who is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Programme on Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA), sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO). He presented an overview of allergy and how several allergic diseases are cross related; whether in the skin, nose or lungs.

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