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Childhood Asthma Still Increasing

Asthma is a chronic disease means it Last for a long period that affects the bronchial tubes, which take air in and out of the lungs. In asthma, these airways become easily affected and as a result react more robustly to allergens or irritants that are there in the environment. Upon exposure to these triggers, the airways turn out to be narrower and less air flows from end to end to the lung tissues. This causes typical asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

In the United States in 1993 and 1994, atleast an average of 13.7 million people reported that they affected by asthma-related conditions. Today that number has enhanced to about 15 million, nearly 5 million in that most are children. Asthma is now the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under 15 years old, and accounts for more than 14 million lost school days each year. The impact of poor health and deaths due to asthma is disproportionately higher among less income people, minorities, and children who live in inner cities than in the general population.

"It's turn into a common problem," says William Gershan, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Pulmonary) at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Gershan, who practices at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Says that researchers cannot yet point to one exact reason for the increase, but says there are most likely a lot of factors involved: "The rise could be attributed due to an increase in environmental factors, or it could be that people are just more in step to asthma than they used to be."


Dr. Gershan says that asthma is most generally part of an allergic reaction to seasonal factors similar to ragweed, tree pollen, or grass pollen; or to environmental factors such dust, as cigarette smoke, cockroaches, or animal dander.

But, he says, asthma is not at all times allergic in nature. "A viral infection can fetch on asthma, as can definite smells, like a particular perfume," says Dr. Gershan. Exercise-induced asthma is quite common, and is usually triggered by strenuous activity. Genetic predisposition as well plays a part in childhood asthma: "If father or mother have asthma, children are much more probable to have it as well," he explains. Children who are often ill with breathing problems at an early age are also reason to develop asthma, as are those born or ahead of time or those who have been on ventilators for prolonged periods.


      Asthma and allergies

Another condition associated to childhood asthma is Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV. RSV is most frequent in infants, and although most babies fully get well from an RSV infection, some go on to develop lasting asthma. "It's a chicken-or-egg scenario," says Dr. Gershan. "Are children who in the risk of getting asthma more prone to RSV, or does RSV bring on asthma?"





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