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Thursday, February 27, 2014

What is Asthma? Facts and Fiction

Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, and the number of people with the condition has steadily risen since the 1980s among all age and racial groups, according to statistics compiled by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.


Every day over 44,000 Americans suffer an asthma attack, and nearly 5,000 people need to visit an emergency room in order to deal with an attack. Unfortunately some people never receive the care they need to overcome an attack, as the condition kills nine people a day in the U.S. The number of individuals asthma kills each year has increased by 50 percent in the last 30 years, with African Americans being three times more likely to die from the condition than other racial groups.

Asthma also takes its toll on the economy, as each year over $18 billion is spent either on treatment or lost due to missed work. Understanding your asthma can help you deal with the disease on a daily basis so you can live a healthy and full life.

What is Asthma?
A lung condition that impede with a person’s ability to breath, asthma stems from a chronic inflammation in the tubes that carry air into the lungs. Asthma can cause serious, recurring episodes of breathlessness and wheezing, known as asthma attacks, which can lead to a shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and an inability to stop coughing. In extreme cases, an asthma attack cuts off the amount of oxygen the body is receiving, requiring emergency treatment to help reopen airways and restore oxygen levels in the body. While asthma cannot be cured, it can be successfully managed.

What Causes an Attack?
Individuals with asthma experience constantly inflamed airway. Specific triggers can cause this inflammation to become worse and lead to a narrowing of the airways in the lungs. These triggers can also cause the body to simultaneously produce excess mucus that further closes the airways and reduces the amount of oxygen your body receives. When working together, the mucus and inflammation restrict the amount of air your lungs receive, and as too little air gets through, wheezing and breathlessness occur.

Asthma Allergens
A variety of allergens can trigger an asthma attack, including mold, cockroaches, dust mites, tree or flower pollen, and foods such as eggs, fish, or peanuts. Knowing what your asthma triggers are can help you reduce the number of asthma attacks you experience.

Here are some of the more common causes of asthma attacks:

Pets - Allergies to pets, or more specifically pet dander, is a common asthma trigger. The dead skin cells that collect on fur, clothing, and furniture, dander can cause an asthma attack in as little as 15 minutes after being inhaled. Individuals with cat allergies also react negative to the protein found in a cat’s skin, saliva, and urine. This protein can gather in the air and triggers asthma attacks in between 20 to 30 percent of all people with asthma.

Air Pollution - Whether you’re outdoors or in, air pollution can play havoc with your asthma. Smog, cigarette smoke, hairspray, and paint fumes are some of the many non-allergic triggers that can cause an asthma attack. These triggers cause attacks by irritating the airways in the lungs.

Exercise - Despite the many health benefits associated with exercise, physical activity can cause exercised-induced asthma attacks in many people. Fortunately this type of asthma attack can be control so it won’t interfere with your ability to stay fit.

Weather- Changes in weather, such as a drop in temperature, change in humidity, or extremely arid conditions, can lead to a asthma attack.

Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 4:55 AM

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