Mon, May 05, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Asthma sufferers have ways to control condition

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Half of an estimated 2 million asthma patients nationwide suffer sinus allergies and those who display flu symptoms for more than 10 days, with phlegm discharges, are likely asthma patients, an expert said yesterday.

Although asthma can be deadly, some 80 percent of sufferers have effectively controlled the condition through a balanced diet and proper exercise, said Hsu Shi-ta (徐世達), director-general of the Taiwan Association of Asthma Education.

Speaking at an event organized by the association and the Taipei City Government’s Department of Health to mark World Asthma Day along with some 150 other countries, Hsu said that it is difficult to detect mild asthma symptoms as they are “habitual.”

However, asthma sufferers may die if they suffer a severe attack, as in the case of Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), a famous Taiwanese singer, who died in 1995 at the age of 42, Hsu said.

Citing survey data released by the Department of Health in 2002 and 2003, Hsu said that 19 percent of first graders in the greater Taipei area have asthma, along with 7.7 percent of adults.

Based on those percentages, it is estimated that the nation has nearly 2 million asthma sufferers, Hsu said, urging the public not to ignore the condition.

Meanwhile, Hsu said that a majority of patients can effectively control their symptoms by finding out what their allergens are and by taking anti-allergy drugs, probiotics and fish oil.

Hsu warned that cockroaches are a major source of allergens and stressed the importance of keeping one’s home clean.

Hsu said that residents can pick up a copy of a brochure on asthma control at local convenience stores and use it to check the seriousness of their condition.

As asthma is the 12th leading cause of death among Taipei City residents, the city government will earmark an additional NT$10 million (US$328,150) for efforts related to the control of asthma, Chiu Wen-hsiang (邱文祥), the city’s health department head, said at the event.

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