|More than 50 per cent of asthma patients have poor control of their disease, despite the availability of treatments to help manage their condition. — Photo vnexpress.net|
HCM CITY — More than 50 per cent of asthma patients have poor control of their disease, despite the availability of treatments to help manage their condition, according to the Society of Asthma and Allergy and Clinical Immunology in HCM City.
Asthma is a chronic disease that inflames and narrows airways in the lungs, causing wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. It affects people of all ages, but most frequently begins in childhood, and heavily affects quality of life.
Speaking at a press conference in HCM City held yesterday, Prof. Dr. Lê Thị Tuyết Lan, the association’s chairwoman, said that asthma could not be cured but could be managed.
About five per cent of Vietnamese population suffer from the disease, but only 40 per cent of asthma patients can manage their disease.
This creates a massive burden not only on patients and their families but also on the healthcare system and government due to treatment costs and the need for long-term management.
Lan said many asthma patients had not received proper treatment measures, adding that the majority of asthma patients can live normal, active lives if they receive proper treatment, and strictly follow treatment.
Doctor Nguyễn Như Vinh said a number of local medical establishments do not have a spirometry machine to diagnose asthma. Some of them have it, but technicians are not skilled in using it, which can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.
Improper use of medication also contributes to poor asthma control in Việt Nam, he said.
He said most people with asthma rely on information given by their family and peers and what is available on the internet, which causes them to underestimate their situation.
"The main goals of asthma treatment are to restore normal airway functions and prevent severe acute attacks," he said.
"Inhalation is the preferred route as this allows the drug to be delivered directly into the airways in smaller doses. This causes fewer side effects than if given orally."
Persons with mild asthma may use quick relief medication as needed. Those with persistent asthma should use medicine on a regular basis to prevent asthma attacks.
Medication is progressively added depending on the severity and frequency of attacks, he said.
Lan said pregnant women with asthma could also use medication to manage their asthma as it is safe for them.
Though the cause of asthma is unknown, certain triggers of asthma such as dust, outdoor air pollution, changes in weather, pet hair, and tobacco smoke can make the inflammation worse and cause a narrowing of the airways, she said.
James Strenner, chief representative of GlaxoSmithKline Pte. Ltd’s office in HCM City, said: “Because of low awareness and prevention, strengthening awareness of asthma as well as providing knowledge of treatments for healthcare professionals has become the most important issue.”— VNS