15m Nigerians Suffering from Asthma, 100m Others Likely by 2025

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Okon Bassey in Uyo
The President of Nigerian Thoracic Society, Prof. Etete Peters, has raised the alarm that no fewer than 15 million Nigerians are suffering from asthma while an estimated 100 million could suffer from the ailment by 2025,

Peters who raised the alarm yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, at the 2016 Asthma day in the state attributed the increase of the ailment in the country to urbanisation and uptake of Western lifestyle especially in developing countries.

Peters who is also the Chief Medical Director of the University Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), said asthma has been one of the most chronic lung diseases affecting over 400 million people worldwide and remained the most common chronic diseases in children.
He disclosed that the Society had formulated a National Asthma Guideline that would help avoid unnecessary and preventable deaths.

According to him, the society has begun collaboration with governments at all levels to conduct epidemiological studies to determine the actual burden and treatment of asthma through evidence based approach but regretted that less progress has been made despite recent efforts.

“Despite availability of different asthma drugs, a significant number of asthma patients are still limited with their asthma, while a sizeable number still dies from the disease.
“An estimated 75 per cent of hospital admissions for asthma and as many as 90 per cent of the deaths are avoidable, Nigeria has lost many gifted and illustrious sons and daughters prematurely due to asthma. This should not be so.

“It is typically characterised by recurring respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening. These symptoms are variable and can fluctuate for each individual over time.” Peters said.

Stressing the need for affordable clean energy sources for Nigerians, he said that household air pollution remained a major contributor not only to asthma attacks, but also to other lung diseases which have deleterious impact on the developing lungs of children.
Adding, “other factors that aid asthma include diet, low level or maternal level of Vitamin D during pregnancy, climate change, air pollution, and cigarette smoking.