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Original Article

IJMDC. 2019; 3(5): 422-427

Childhood bronchial asthma in Saudi Arabia: a cross-sectional study

Raghad Saleh Alhindi, Sarah Khaled Alem, Ibtisam Mohammed Alhuzali, Tahani Atallah Alruwaili, Weam Waleed Alhemaidi, Amar Nayf Akbar, Fatimah Ali Alshamali, Salma Zaki Jastaniah, Aseel Saleh Alnamlah, Rabab Hussain Jawad, Nura Ayyadah Alanazi.


Background: Asthma is a major public health problem worldwide with wide differences in prevalence and severity. It is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting both children and adults.
Methods: This study is a community-based cross-sectional study conducted on a representative sample of children in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during the period from June 1, 2018 to July 31, 2018. The statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS software for Windows (version 16.0). Chi-square test was used for comparing qualitative variables. A 5% level was chosen as a level of statistical significance in all statistical tests used in this study.
Results: The prevalence of physician-diagnosed bronchial asthma among Saudi children was 42.7%. It was more prevalent in the age group less than 1 year by 51.5%. Males reported a high prevalence rate than females (51.8% vs. 48.2%), respectively. Concerning the manifestations, chest wheezes by 67.6%, allergic rhinitis 69.5%, difficulty in respiration 77.7%, cough 75.2%, insomnia and restlessness 75.7%, and continuous sense of tiredness in 70%. Regarding treatment, we found that 98.1% of cases had received medical treatment; regarding medications, 55.6% received short-acting bronchodilators, 26.4% inhaled corticosteroids, and 7.1% oral cortisone.
The following are the precipitating factors of bronchospasm: the common cold attack in 76.6%, exhaustion 70%, exposure to animal hair, some chemicals, and dust 67%, hot weather 60.5%, and fish, egg, soybeans, or peanuts intake 26.4%.
Conclusion: Bronchial asthma is still one of the most common chronic diseases among children in KSA. Male children with allergic rhinitis, family history of asthma, and exposure to passive smoking showed high prevalence among asthma cases; common cold attack, exposure to animal hair, some chemicals, and dust, hot weather, and exhaustion were found to be precipitating factors. Most cases improved on treatment.

Key words: Bronchial asthma, children, prevalence, precipitating factors, treatment.

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