Environmental factors trigger increase in asthma patients [Archives:2007/1076/Health]

August 13 2007

Jamal Al-Najjar
Despite the fact that asthma is a genetic-hereditary disease, doctors confirm that there are several environmental factors that endanger patients' lives as these factors play a major role in development of the disease. In Yemen, the number of asthma patients is continuously increasing, particularly during the last few years, as a result of negative environmental changes, most of which are man-made and therefore can be avoided or prevented.

Dr. Faker Al-Qubati, a chest specialist, maintained that asthma victims have increased in Yemen during the last seven years, pointing out that every year comes with more victims than the previous one. “In the year 2000, the number of asthma patients was so small if compared with that of 2007. Respiratory diseases in general and asthma in particular have witnessed a big increase especially during the years 2002 to 2007,” he said.

Al-Qubati attributed the huge increase of asthma patients in Yemen to environmental pollution that results from the use of old cars, which emit a considerable amount of smoke, in addition to the location of rock-breaking factories within the city. “The smoke of cars as we see everyday on the streets represents one of the major irritants that asthma patients face continuously especially in the morning. In addition, breaking and grinding rocks inside or near cities particularly in Sana'a fills the city atmosphere with dust. Such dust is considered as toxins since it aggravates the suffering of asthma patients when they inhale it and stands as an obstacle in front of any progress in treatment,” he explained.

He further added that there are other factors that affect asthma such as the altitude level of a patients' residence. He revealed that asthma patients living in areas located at high altitudes suffer from shortage of oxygen and their breathing becomes more difficult than those living in low altitude areas where oxygen levels are normal. According to Al-Qubati