Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Asthma

What is asthma?

Incidence of asthma

Symptoms of asthma

Triggers for asthma

Causes of asthma

Prevention / remedies / treatment for asthma

References

What is asthma?

Asthma occurs when the main air passages of the lungs (the bronchial tubes) become inflamed and narrowed. The muscles of the bronchial walls tighten, and cells in the lungs produce extra mucus that further narrows the airways. This makes it difficult to breathe, leading to coughing, wheezing, and trouble sleeping.

A serious asthma attack can be life-threatening.

Asthma is a chronic but treatable condition. Many people have reduced the severity and frequency of attacks and gone on to lead a normal, active life.

Incidence of asthma

The prevalence of asthma has increased significantly since the 1970s, especially among children. It now affects up to one quarter of urban children. In 2010 asthma affected 7% of the population of the USA, 6.5% of all British people and a total of 300 million worldwide. It causes 250,000 deaths globally and 4,000 deaths per year in the USA. (1,10)

The developed (high consumer) countries of the world (USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand) have 20 to 60 times more cases of asthma per 100 people than the poor, less developed, low consumption countries. (11)

Asthma is quite common among top athletes, with 15% of the participants in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games diagnosed with asthma and 10% of them on asthma medications. It is most prevalent in high-respiration sports such as cycling, mountain biking, and long-distance running.

Symptoms of asthma

Symptoms are often worst early in the morning, at night, or on exposure to cold air.

Triggers for asthma

Causes of asthma

Conventional medicine and doctors are not clear about the causes of asthma, thinking it is likely to be a combination of environmental factors, genetic factors, and epigenetic factors.

Prevention / remedies / treatment for asthma

More than half of children diagnosed with asthma will fully recover within a decade.

References

1. Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention. Global Initiative for Asthma. Updated to 2011, pdf available online.

2. Peat JK, Tovey E, Toelle BG, et al. House dust mite allergens: A major risk factor for childhood asthma in Australia. 1996. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 153 (1): 141-6. PMID 8542107.

3. Custovic A, Smith AC, Woodcock A. Indoor allergens are a primary cause of asthma: Asthma and the environment. 1998. Eur Respir Rev 53: 155-8.

4. Celedon JC, Litonjua AA, Ryan L, et al. Exposure to cat allergen, maternal history of asthma, and wheezing in first 5 years of life. 2002. Lancet 360 (9335): 781-2. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09906-3. PMID 12241839.

5. Ownby DR, Johnson CC, Peterson EL. Exposure to dogs and cats in the first year of life and risk of allergic sensitization at 6 to 7 years of age. 2002. JAMA 288 (8): 963-972. doi:10.1001/jama.288.8.963. PMID 12190366.

6. Perzanowski MS, Ronmark E, Platts-Mills TA, Lundback B. Effect of cat and dog ownership on sensitization and development of asthma among preteenage children. 2002. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 166 (5): 696-702. doi:10.1164/rccm.2201035. PMID 12204868.

7. Strachan DP. Hay fever, hygiene, and household size. 1989. BMJ 299 (6710): 1259-60.

8. Murk, W; Risnes, KR, Bracken, MB. Prenatal or early-life exposure to antibiotics and risk of childhood asthma: a systematic review. June 2011. Pediatrics 127 (6): 1125-38. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-2092. PMID 21606151.

9. Neu, J; Rushing, J. Cesarean versus vaginal delivery: long-term infant outcomes and the hygiene hypothesis. June 2011. Clinics in perinatology 38 (2): 321-31. PMID 21645799.

10. World Health Organization Fact Sheet Fact sheet No 307: Asthma. Retrieved December 2012.

11. Worldwide variation in prevalence of symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, and atopic eczema: ISAAC. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Steering Committee. Lancet 351 (9111): 1225-32. April 1998.

12. Lowe AJ et al. Associations between fatty acids in colostrum and breast milk and risk of allergic disease. Clin Exp Allergy. Nov 2008, 38(11):1745-51.

13. Dennis J. Hartigan-O'Connor, Amir Ardeshir, Nicole R. Narayan, Gema Mendez-Lagares, Ding Lu, Marcus Rauch, Yong Huang, Koen K. A. Van Rompay, Susan V. Lynch. Breast-fed and bottle-fed infant rhesus macaques develop distinct gut microbiotas and immune systems. Science Translational Medicine, 3 September 2014: Vol. 6, Issue 252, p. 252. ra120. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008791.

14. Marie-Claire Arrieta, Leah T. Stiemsma, Pedro A. Dimitriu, Lisa Thorson, Shannon Russell, Sophie Yurist-Doutsch, Boris Kuzeljevic, Matthew J. Gold, Heidi M. Britton, Diana L. Lefebvre, Padmaja Subbarao, Piush Mandhane, Allan Becker, Kelly M. McNagny, Malcolm R. Sears, Tobias Kollmann, William W. Mohn, Stuart E. Turvey, B. Brett Finlay. Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma. Science Translational Medicine 30 Sep 2015: Vol. 7, Issue 307, pp. 307ra152. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab2271.