Monday, August 9, 2010


I know that there are some doctors reading my blog so I'm gonna pose this question to you: Is the rate of kids with Asthma higher in Hanoi than in most other places in Vietnam/The World/Developed countries? I ask because I've noticed that at least 50% of my private students have inhalers.

If the rate of Asthma is high here it wouldn't surprise me at all. As most people who have been to Hanoi know, the air is not clean here. I would think having grown up in this environment could not be good for your lungs. In fact, I have felt that my breathing in Vietnam sometimes feels strained compared to when I lived in America or Japan.

But on the other hand, my private students are quite affluent and I wonder if their parents take them to more expensive doctors who prescribe them unnecessary medications. This has been something I've wondered about for a while so I thought I'd throw it up on the blog today.


Mary said...

Hi Ben,

Being a public health nerd, I did a quick pubmed search. As far as I can tell, there are no large population based studies in Vietnam or Hanoi researching childhood asthma prevalence. However, the few studies I found said that rates are very high (around 14% reported in some studies). See below link:

There are parts of the US (in urban areas in particular) where rates are comparable. But without large population based studies, it's hard to compare overall prevalence rates. You are probably observing a real trend combined with the fact that many of your students can afford inhalers.

riseNshine said...

Well I'm not a doctor but for 12 years that I went to schools in Vietnam (public schools) I only knew about 2 people who have asthma.

Mary said...

Hi Ben,

I left a comment but it didn't post for some reason...sorry if you get this twice. I did a quick pubmed search out of curiosity, and it looks like rates are about comparable in Hanoi and in the U.S. Around 10-15% of school aged children in Hanoi have been diagnosed with asthma (similar to the rates in urban environments in the U.S.). However, without population based studies, it's hard to know how accurate that number is (there are no population based studies in Vietnam or Hanoi). So you are probably observing a real trend (high rates) combined with the fact that you are working with students who can afford doctors' visits and inhalers.

Benjamin said...

Thanks for checking that out, Mary! Again it could totally be a coincidence as it would seem from riseNshine's posting. At the moment I'm teaching on teen class and the thought has popped into my head, "I wonder when Vietnamese will start diagnosing lots of kids with ADD."