Hamad General Hospital’s (HGH) Emergency Department has seen a steady increase in the number of patients suffering from asthma attacks in recent years and those with the condition have been urged to seek early treatment.
Dr Salem Abu Salah, a Senior Consultant in HGH’s Emergency Department says the increase can be attributed to a number of factors, but Qatar’s desert climate, and specifically sudden changes in weather conditions, is the main culprit.
Dr Abu Salah said: For a variety of reasons many asthma suffers don’t seek medical attention until their symptoms become severe enough that they need to visit the Emergency Department…It is important that patients work with their primary healthcare physician to first diagnose the condition and then develop a treatment plan that will help prevent attacks as well as provide the tools to manage an attack, should one occur.’
Asthma causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to breathing difficulties. It is thought to be the most common chronic disease among children. The signs of an asthma attack usually include wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Asthma treatment plans vary from patient to patient depending on the severity of symptoms and Dr Abu Salah stresses the importance of patients understanding the severity of their condition.