There are not enough data on the epidemiology of asthma in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). We analyzed data from a national household survey conducted in KSA in 2013 to estimate prevalence, associated risk factors and control measurements of asthma.
The Saudi Health Interview Survey was a cross-sectional national multistage survey of 10,735 individuals aged 15 years or older. The survey included a detailed household questionnaire and a physical exam. We used self-reported clinical diagnosis of asthma to assess prevalence of asthma.
The prevalence of asthma in KSA was 4.05 % (95 % confidence interval [CI]: 3.54–4.62 %). Asthma was less frequent in individuals with higher education but higher in former smokers and obese individuals. Around 76.7 % of asthma patients (95 % CI: 70.6–82.0 %) experienced an asthmatic attack, and 61.6 % (95 % CI: 54.4–68.4 %) visited a hospital/emergency room because of asthma during the past year. Asthma attack was less frequent in older patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.78, 95 %CI: 0.59–0.96 for each decade of life). Current use of medication for asthma was highly associated with asthma attacks (OR = 9.14, 95 % CI: 3.29–25.38). Asthma attack was also more frequent in individuals who were exposed to secondhand smoking (OR = 2.17, 95 %CI: 1.05–4.45) and those who were obese (OR = 3.01, 95 %CI: 1.34–6.78).
Saudi Arabia has a relatively low prevalence of diagnosed asthma; however, many of the patients with known asthma do not have it under good control. Our study calls for programs to inform patients about the importance and proper means of controlling their condition. Implementing and monitoring of clinical guidelines can also help to improve asthma control among patients as well as identify undiagnosed cases.||