Knowledge, attitude and behaviour of asthmatic patients regarding asthma in urban areas in Khartoum State, Sudan

Tarig Hakim Merghani, Abdallah Mahgoob Zaki, Ashraf Mubarak Ahmed, Imam Mohammed Toum

Abstract


Background: Adequate knowledge and positive attitude and behaviour of asthmatic patients towards their illness are prerequisites for optimal management; however, there is paucity of data regarding these in the Sudan.

Objectives:

To evaluate the knowledge and beliefs of asthmatic patients about asthma and to assess their attitude and behaviour regarding their acceptance of the diagnosis of asthma, use of inhalers, compliance to preventers and trial of non-medical methods for treatment.

Patients and methods:

A sample of 490 asthmatic patients, 52% males and 48% females, was selected randomly from three major hospitals in Khartoum State during the period from January to June 2005. Inclusion criteria were adult, known asthmatic for one year or more, educated to at least higher secondary school and living in the urban areas in Khartoum State. Each patient responded to a structured questionnaire assessing his/her knowledge about asthma aetiology, pathophysiology, symptoms, treatment and triggering factors; and evaluating his/her attitude and behaviour regarding asthma diagnosis, inhalers, anti-inflammatory drugs and non-medical methods of treatment.

Results:

Asthma was believed to be infectious by 5% of patients and inherited by 67%. The role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of asthma was known to only 11% of all patients in the study group. The principal triggering factors known to the patients were dust (in 78%) and upper respiratory tract infections (in 67%). The diagnosis of asthma was refused by 27% of patients who preferred to be described as allergic rather than asthmatic. About 46% of the patients did not use preventers (in the form of steroid inhalers or tablets)

regularly when prescribed. Most patients in the study (88%) used inhalers for treatment of asthma attacks whereas 12% were reluctant to use inhalers. About 44% of asthmatic patients tried non-medical methods for the purpose of cure. These included honey, Kammon, cigarettes, acupuncture, and Quran.

Conclusion:

Asthmatic patients in Khartoum State have poor knowledge about the pathogenesis of asthma, especially the inflammatory nature of the disease. More than a quarter of them are reluctant to accept the diagnosis of asthma and prefer to be described as allergic. Most of them use inhalers for treatment of asthma attacks and less than half do not use preventers regularly when prescribed.

*Corresponding author: Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, E-mail: Tarighm@gmail.com

 


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