Prevalence of Asthma and Allergy and Their Risk Factors Among An–Najah National University Students - Nablus - Palestine

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Type: 
Thesis
Year: 
2005
Students: 
Wafa Allam Theeb Minawi
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Abstract: 
Asthma and allergic conditions have become more prevalent during the past three decades. Asthma causes significant morbidity and mortality and has resulted in a towering public health burden. Inhalant allergic conditions such as seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis are also quite common. The effect of asthma and allergy on an individual's quality of life and the extent to which it may restrict daily activities is often overlooked. Controlling allergies can significantly decrease health care cost as the purpose of asthma and allergy treatment is to manage the disease in order to live as normal a life as possible and this also can be done by providing community and professional education. The purpose of this study, a first of its kind in this age group in Palestine, is to estimate the prevalence of asthma and allergy among young adult population in Palestine represented by An- Najah University students. The study sample consisted of around 1000 randomly selected students from all colleges of the University. The researcher collected the data through student group interview. Self-reported questionnaire were filled, then PEF measurement was done based on the expert panel report 2.The results were recorded and the level of error was corrected for by using equation for PEF derived by Millar et al 1992. Predicted values were calculated for each individual with the Persian equations & Nunn and Gregg equations. All data of the questionnaire and PEF measurement for the study sample were entered into the computer and computed using SPSS program and applying Chi–square test, with 95 % level of significant (P value = 0.05).Although some results were inconsistent with the literature, especially those related to global asthma and allergy risk factors, we had important positive results. The following points worth reporting:
  • Physical diagnosis asthma prevalence was 0.33% and the prevalence of ever wheezing was 0.46%, the prevalence of allergic rhinitis, skin allergy, latex rubber allergy, food allergy, drug allergy and insect sting allergy were 3.1 % 2.5% 0.26% 0.88% 0.67% and 2.5% respectively.
  • The prevalence of asthma and allergy in Palestine was markedly lower than that of Israel; however, our results were close to another study carried out in Duzce in Turkey. • Our results indicate male predominance for those who have asthma & skin allergy.
  • Upon the distribution of allergic disease for study samples according to their residence, the results show that the highest percentage of asthmatic subjects were from villages, and the highest percentage for those who have skin allergy were from the camps.
  • Prevalence of asthma in our study doesn't appear to be related to the social or environmental factor.
  • Neither gender nor residence & environmental factors have statistically significant relationship with allergic rhinitis.
  • Poor housing conditions of refugee camps dampness (which encourages the growth of moulds, dust, mites, ect.) might explain the double percentage of skin allergy in refugee camps than other places.
  • Adult Palestinian have minimally lower peak expiratory flow value and prediction equations based on European population may not perform well for them .Adoption of Persian equation for PEF seems to be more accurate for young adult Palestinians.
  • Further studies on large scale for asthma and allergy in Palestine, and the proper use & value of PEF for Palestinians are called for.