Asthma has more and more Thais gasping for air
The number of Thais suffering from allergic rhinitis and asthma is growing each year, with an estimated 40 per cent of the population susceptible to allergies of varying severity.
Four out of five asthmatics tend to suffer from allergic rhinitis while those who develop allergic rhinitis are three times more likely to suffer from asthma than ordinary people.
Without proper treatment for these two disorders, complications may occur that can become life threatening to some patients.
According to Prof Pakit Vichyanond, president of the Association of Allergy and Immunology of Thailand and the key speaker at a recent World Allergy Day event, more than 10 per cent of Thais are now being treated for asthma.
"Asthma is a major drain on Thailand's economy and has cost the government more than Bt3.6 billion to date.
"With better awareness of the disorders, proper self-treatment, avoidance of allergens, adequate rest and exercise and adherence to the latest guidelines as prescribed by doctor for treating these two conditions, patients will be able to live normal lives. This can help reducing the burden," Pakit said.
The major causes of allergic rhinitis include heredity and external factors as dust mite allergens, cockroaches, glass or insects.
It affects people from all walks of life, especially those who live in polluted environments, smokers and those who are expose to high level of certain allergens.
Allergic rhinitis and asthma medications come in spray or pill form. Spray medications contain steroids, which once sprayed into the nostrils can treat only the allergic rhinitis.
In the case of co-occurrence of asthma and allergic rhinitis, a patient needs to use a separate spray to treat the symptoms of the asthma.
Many side effects can occur in the case of long-term usage of spray medication, especially in younger patients, due to the presence of steroids. These appear to affect the development of bones in children, stunting their growth.
A non-steroidal medication has now been developed in tablet form for ease of administration and is being used to treat both allergic rhinitis and asthma.
The new treatment is equally as efficient as the spray treatment and has no notable side effects.
Rhinitis and asthma complications have become critical health issues not just in Thailand but all over the world, and Thailand will be hosting the World Allergy Congress 2007.
More than 5,000 doctors and concerned academics from around the globe are expected to attend. The event will be held from December 2 to 6 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.