Asthma Still Increasing
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