Survey of asthma control in Thailand

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ObjectiveThe aim of the study was to determine whether asthma management in Thailand is succeeding in achieving the levels of control, specified in national and international asthma guidelines.MethodologyAdults with asthma in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Songkhla, and Khon Kaen were interviewed, and we have reported on their asthma severity, morbidity, control, perception of asthma, and healthcare use.ResultsA total of 466 asthma sufferers were interviewed. The burden of asthma was high, with 14.8% of respondents being hospitalized for their asthma in the past year. One-quarter of those surveyed had lost workdays as a result of their asthma, and most patients felt that their lifestyle was limited. The majority of respondents had intermittent asthma (62.9%), 10.5% had mild persistent asthma, 17.6% had moderate persistent asthma, and 9.0% had severe persistent asthma; increasing severity was significantly associated with increased emergency healthcare use (P < 0.00001). Asthma sufferers greatly underestimated the severity of their condition. Only 36.0% used reliever medication, and use of inhaled corticosteroids was low at 6.7%. Understanding of the inflammatory basis of asthma was poor. Few patients underwent lung function tests or took peak flow meter readings.ConclusionsThe burden of asthma is high in Thailand, and guidelines are not being followed. Encouraging greater use of inhaled corticosteroids will be an important step towards improving asthma control.

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