Experience has shown that Iranians deeply believe that food modifies asthma activity. To evaluate this experience and it’s determining factors, we conducted this study.
120 consecutive adult asthmatics (50 male, 70 female;77% city and 23% village residents; 29% illiterate, 36% below high-school diploma, and 35% high-school diploma and university educations) filled a questionnaire containing these questions: 1-Do they believe that diet modifies asthma activity? 2-What kinds of foods are responsible for their attacks? 3-Does fasting (to avoid drinking and eating for 12-17 hours) have any effect on their asthma?
110 (92%) believed that some foods aggravate their asthma. 85% mentioned their personal experience and 15% physicians advice as the source of this idea. This belief was stronger in older than 40 years (P<0.05), but unrelated to gender,level of education and place of living. Foods mostly named were: Pickles and sour taste (77% of answers), spice and pepper (68%), fried foods (68%), melon (61%), butter and fat (50%), garlic (36%), and onion (30%). 51% believed that fasting has no effect on their disease, 28% mentioned some kind of relief and 21% aggravation by fasting.
Most our patients believe that diet has an effect on their disease. Personal experience is the main source of their idea. This belief is not related to level of education, gender,and to place of living, but is more prevalent in older patients. Most of them denied any major effect of fasting on asthma.
Most Iranian asthmatics avoid some kinds of foods. This may result in inappropriate nutrition, and depletion of some necessary nutrients. This is especially important for young children that suffer from asthma. Experimental studies are needed to confirm the effect of diet on asthma, and if proved otherwise, educational programs are needed for patients and physicians.
A. Soltani Abhari, None.