Hi guys! I’m sure that this week’s topic will hit pretty close to home for most of you- asthma. As someone who suffers from asthma, when I first read this report from Duke, I wanted to talk about it.
It all starts out with those who have more genetic risks for asthma. These people are not only more likely to develop asthma at a very young age, but they are also more likely to continue to suffer from asthma throughout their entire life. Thanks to new results from a 40-year longitudinal study reported by Duke University, researchers have been able to study how genetics relate to one’s life course of asthma.
In the past, studies have linked a handful of genes to minute increases in asthma risk. The researchers at Duke, and others, wanted to know whether those risks actually add up. They chose to look at the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a study of 1,037 individuals who have been tracked since their birth in Dunedin, New Zealand during a 12-month period from 1972-1973. If that number alone doesn’t daunt you, read what happened next.
The team calculated a “genetic risk score” for each of the individuals in the Dunedin study by adding up the number of risk variants each of them carried in their genes. They then interviewed as to whether those scores correlated to the development of their asthma from early childhood through their midlives.
And yes, in fact, they did correlate. Those who have higher genetic risk variants developed asthma earlier in life and remained asthmatic longer than did those with lower risk levels. Higher risk individuals also more often had allergic reactions associated with severe and persistent asthma and developed problems with lung function.
There is still a long way to go before genetic risk scores, like those done in this study, can be used in routine medical practice. However, until then the data found could lead to a better understanding of the biology of asthma and advance research to devise new treatment and prevention strategies, which for me, and the approximately 26 million other people who suffer from asthma in the US alone, sounds amazing! The numbers of asthmatics grow every year at a cost of billions of dollars; so, the sooner we get a real grasp on this situation, the better!
I love living in the city, I really do. There are so many wonderful things about it. Hanging out in Little Five Points & East Atlanta, going to the park and other outdoor places like Six Flags.
But as a person with asthma, air pollution is a personal problem for me. Atlanta was named one of the top 25 dirtiest air cities for ozone pollution in the US in 2011. When I go out on runs and exercise walks, I can feel the struggle to take full breaths and I almost always have to use my inhaler.
In 2007, Atlanta was labeled the “worst asthma city” due to the high number of death rates from asthma. Most of these probably were caused by extreme levels of pollen and other pollutants like carbon monoxide, which is found in cigarettes. Most people assume this is only an issue for asthmatics, but the pollution in our air is hazardous to everyone. There are about 4,000 chemicals present in the average cigarette. These harsh substances are then breathed out and released directly into our environment.
As you must know already, pollution from cars is one huge problem. Especially in the city. For most people, driving is a necessary mode of transportation, and in places with high concentrations of these people, fossil fuels create toxic amounts of harmful gases every day. But like I said, that’s not new information to you. More and more teens like me have asthma and I don’t know about them, but I certainly want to be able to get out and enjoy my city! And our generation can be the one to help them, (to help ourselves, really) by releasing less waste into the air.
What have you done this week that’s green?
What pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘asthma’? Is it a grandma, struggling to catch her breath, chasing after her grandkids?
What if I told you that as of 2010, 22 million Americans were affected by asthma (according to Environmental Defense Fund)? They can’t all be elderly people, right?
There really is no distinct category of asthmatics; nowadays the disease is no stranger to people of all races and ages, dictating their daily routines. Asthma is clearly turning into an epidemic, sweeping through our planet on the wings of air pollution. Picture yourself coughing and sneezing constantly as if you had a cold that just won’t go away. Or- imagine having to carry tons of medication with you at all times to soothe your symptoms, and being forced to follow weekly air pollution reports to see if you can even step outside without worsening your condition.
Asthma and the entire family of respiratory diseases are no longer a distant threat. Are you willing to let you and your children’s future hang in the air because you did nothing when you had a chance to change everything?
You can start at home by monitoring your family’s energy consumption. Or, join your mom on her shopping trip and ask her to buy reusable products with less packaging. And as exciting as driving may be, plan your trips. It will help the environment, make you feel good about being actively involved in solving this issue, and save your family quite a few extra bucks.
Step up and dictate your future! Let’s tackle air pollution today and do everything we can to eliminate our chances of suffering from asthma!
Do you know anyone affected by asthma? Or, do you battle the condition yourself? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can work together to improve the outside factors that cause it.
Have you ever consider the effects that air pollution has on your health or for that matter the health of anyone? I know we have!
Air pollution and poor air quality can be harmful to anyone’s health, especially children. Did you know that the primary target is the respiratory system? It also affects the heart and the immune system.
The short-term effects of air pollution on health are better understood than the long-term effects, although evidence suggests that children with frequent exposure to air pollution have increased chances of developing asthma and decreased lung development.
Its crazy how air pollution can do all of that – affect you respiratory system and decreased lung development!
Did you know that smog can also trigger asthma attacks? In fact, it is the most common chronic illness in children in the U.S. Asthma can cause inflammation in the airways that results in swelling , a tightening of muscles around the airways and increased production of mucus.
Who knew that air quality and you health were so connected? What can you do to protect your health?