One in eight adults in UAE is asthmatic

A new study released ahead of World Asthma Day, which is today, has shown that one in eight adults across the UAE suffers from this chronic respiratory condition.

By (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Tue 1 May 2012, 11:06 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:44 PM

The study was overseen by the Emirates Respiratory Society, conducted by investigators from the UAE and supported by AstraZeneca Gulf. The study looked at 1,225 people from across the emirates, which included men and women of all ages, approximately two-thirds of whom were male, with roughly one-fifth of the participants UAE nationals.

“This study is vitally important for helping us understand the asthma landscape in the UAE,” said Dr Bassam Mahboub, vice-president of the Emirates Respiratory Society and Head of Pulmonary Medicine, Rashid Hospital.

“By knowing the demographics of the prevalence of asthma here, we can now work towards setting proper treatment guidelines and educating patients on how they can properly manage their symptoms and condition in the long term.”

Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swells. This reduces the amount of air that can pass by.

Asthma causes recurring episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing, particularly at night or in the early morning.

Asthma is chronic and cannot be cured. However, appropriate management can control the disorder and enable people to enjoy a good quality of life. In addition, some children with milder forms of asthma outgrow their symptoms with age. In the UAE, asthmatics need to be aware of and try to avoid allergens like dust mites in humid areas and non-organic dust such as from sandstorms.

In 2010, a study that looked at the burden of asthma in the UAE reported that 64 per cent of the patients experienced sudden and severe asthma attacks during the year. Furthermore, half of the children and almost one-fifth of the adults missed school or work due to their condition during the same year.

Approximately 27 per cent of the patients visited the emergency room and four per cent were hospitalised. The Pediatric Department at American Hospital Dubai is focusing on helping the parents of children with asthma better understand the condition.

Dr Amro Astal, consultant in Pulmonary and Respiratory Diseases at American Hospital Dubai, said: “Asthma medication can be taken orally, by injection, or inhaled in aerosol form.”

Relievers, also known as bronchodilators, open up restricted airways to help relieve wheezing, breathlessness, and tightness of the chest; and Preventers which include anti-inflammatory drugs, can be taken daily to help prevent swelling and inflammation of the airways.

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