Can Climate Change Affect Asthma?

November 12, 2012

Can Climate Change Affect Asthma?

Asthma could be on the increase as a result of climate change. Dr Kent Pinkerton of the University of California has warned how global warming will change the air quality in the environment and this will have a detrimental effect on anyone who is vulnerable to respiratory disease.

What is Asthma

Asthma inflames the airways, which are the tubes that carry the air to and from your lungs when they become swollen the tubes narrow and the air has difficulty passing through. Asthma causes the chest to tighten and wheezing, this is followed by shortness of breath, which can be chronic.

Asthma treatments

Treatment consists of relievers and preventers.

  • Relievers – Are in tablet form and are generally taken during an attack. They alleviate some of the symptoms, but they do not reduce the swelling.

  • Preventers- Are normally inhalers and are either steroid or non-steroid and these work to reduce the swelling and the inflammation.

Asthma and air pollution

Air pollution causes asthma attacks and asthma sufferers should be aware of the air quality in their area. Traffic produces ozone which is an asthma trigger as well as pollen, dust, ash and smog.

Doctors and Scientists

During a meeting between eminent lung doctors and top climate change scientists the impact of global warming on our health was discussed in detail.

How will climate change effect the air we breathe?

  • Flooding caused by storms will make more mould.

  • Mosquitoes will be active for longer periods.

  • The pollen season will be longer.

  • Heat waves will cause more deaths.

During the past ten years Americans suffering from asthma has risen to 4.3 million people and black children suffering asthma went up by 50%. The National Institute of Health estimates that allergies are increasing and Kent Pinkerton states the importance of awareness amongst both doctors and their patients of air quality and climate change. Changing weather patterns will affect asthma sufferers making their condition worsen or making it harder for them to breathe.

  • Asthma is a higher risk in obese children.

  • Children of parents with asthma are likely to be asthmatic.

  • Asthma is fast becoming one of America’s most common complaints.

  • Roughly 20 million Americans have Asthma.

Treatments as you have seen include Inhalers, tablets and injections, however, although asthma can be controlled, unfortunately it cannot be cured and therefore asthma sufferers need to be vigilant to the environmental changes effecting the air that they breath.

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