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No population study has explored the population distribution of adult asthma in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The objective is to estimate asthma prevalence in general population in UAE.
Using standard European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaires and tools, this is a cross-sectional assessment of a random sample of the population in established quotas of the seven Emirates in the UAE. We surveyed 1,220 participants, of which 63.2% were male, and 20.1% were UAE Nationals, with a mean (SD) age of 32.9 (14.1) years.
Prevalence of individual respiratory symptoms from the ECRHS screening questionnaire in all participants were generally ranging 8 - 10%, while participants 20-44 years presented lower prevalence in all symptoms (p < 0.05). The expected male:female ratio of reported wheezing and asthma attacks and its treatment by age was not observed. Participating women reported more individual symptoms than men. Overall, there were 15.4% (95% C.I. 13.5 - 17.5) participants who fulfilled our screening criteria for asthma, while for consistency with ECRHS, there were 12.1% (95% C.I. 10.4 - 14.1) participants who fulfilled the ECRHS asthma definition, being 9.8% (95% C.I. 7.8 - 12.2) of those 20-44 years, that is 8.6% of male and 11.8% of female young adults participating.
We conclude that asthma is common in the UAE, and gender differences are not observed in reported asthma symptoms in young adults. This being the first population based study exploring the prevalence of asthma and its determinants in the United Arab Emirates based on the ECRHS.