According to recent expert estimates, asthma affects about three hundred million people in the world, in the United States alone there are more than 22 million patients with asthma. Despite the fact that almost all age groups are affected by this disease, asthma most often develops in childhood, currently there are six million children with bronchial asthma living in the United States. About 255 million people worldwide die of asthma annually.
What is known about asthmatic risk for children?
Asthma is recognized as the most common chronic illness among children, especially if they were underweight at birth, were passive smokers, belong to the Negroid race and grow in poor socio-economic conditions. In most children, primary asthmatic symptoms appear around the age of five, most often they are frequent episodes of shortness of breath with respiratory infections. Additional risk factors for children include allergies, eczema, or the presence of confirmed asthma in parents.
It is known that boys are more likely to develop asthma compared to girls, however, this trend is no longer relevant at the time of the onset of the adult period. Researchers have suggested that this phenomenon may be associated with smaller airways in boys compared to girls, which leads to an increased risk of shortness of breath after a viral infection.
Almost all asthma patients also have allergies. In fact, more than 25% of people with allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, also have subsequently developed asthma. Allergic reactions caused by antibodies present in the blood quite often lead to the development of inflammation associated with asthma. Common sources of internal allergens include animal proteins, usually cats and dogs, dust mites, cockroaches and fungi.
Tobacco is also associated with an increased individual risk of developing asthma and even death due to asthma, shortness of breath, and respiratory infections. Moreover, children of smoking mothers have a high asthmatic risk prevalence; smoking teenagers also have a risk associated with this habit.
Allergic reactions and asthmatic symptoms quite often result from pollution of the indoor environment, which is facilitated by mold or smells of home cleaners and paints. Other factors that increase the risk of asthma include carbon dioxide from gas stoves and ovens. In fact, people who use gas stoves for cooking are more likely to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, bronchopulmonary obstruction, asthma attacks, and hay fever.
Air pollution, sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, cold temperature and high humidity are also recognized asthma triggers for some people.
During periods of severe air pollution, a trend may be noted in increasing asthma symptoms and the number of hospitalizations. Smoke and smog contribute to the release of osozn, which causes coughing, difficulty breathing and chest pain. Sulfur dioxide is also released with smga, which can lead to a reduction in the airways and, as a result, an asthma attack.
Weather changes can also trigger an asthmatic attack. Cold air can lead to hypermia, bronchospasm, secretion and decreased cleansing of the respiratory tract from sputum. In some populations, high humidity also leads to difficulty breathing.
Overweight adults whose body mass index varies from 25 to 30 units are 38% more likely to develop asthma compared to adults with normal weight. Adult obese individuals whose body mass index exceeds 30 units have a twice as high risk of asthma. According to some scientists, the risk of non-allergenic asthma in this case prevails over the risk of allergenic asthma.
Researchers suggest that caesarean section births have a 20% greater prevalence of asthma compared to babies born naturally. It is possible that bacterial infections that alter the immune system during cesarean section may be responsible for this prevalence.
If mothers smoke during pregnancy, their children have lower pulmonary function, which leads to additional asthmatic risks. Studies have also shown that preterm labor should also be considered a risk factor for asthma.
According to the researchers, people experiencing stress have a higher level of asthma. Partly this prevalence can be explained by an increase in the level of asthma-related behaviors, such as smoking, which is caused by stress. However, a recent study also suggested that stress modifies the immune system.
According to experts, about a hundred genes can be associated with asthma, of which 25 were already associated with individual populations in 2005. Genes related to asthma play a role in controlling the immune system and inflammation. Nevertheless, no consistent consistent results of genetic research among the population have yet been obtained, and therefore further research in this area is necessary to determine the complex interactions that cause the development of asthma. Approximately two thirds of asthmatic cases are hereditary, the presence of asthmatic parents increases the risk of the disease by six times.
Genetic factors can also interact with environmental factors. For example, the effect of the bacterial endotoxin product and the presence of the genetic trait CD14 (single nucleotide polymorphism C-159T) remains an important example of such an interaction associated with the development of asthma.
Currently, researchers cannot accurately explain why airway hyperreactivity is an asthmatic risk factor, however, allergens or cold air may well cause inflammation of such hyperreactive tracts.