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Asthma – Reducing Risk and Minimizing Symptoms
Asthma is an identified chronic health disorder affecting a significant number of people worldwide, and is commonly characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest. Asthma attacks (episode where symptoms are heightened) usually occur after exercise or exposure to allergens, fumes or gases, or exposure to viral respiratory infections (“colds”).
These exposures cause an inflammation of the airway wall and an abnormal narrowing of the airways, which lead to asthma symptoms.
While asthma is often considered a children’s disease, the disease however affects more adults than children. The rise in diagnosis among adults is increasing and is cause for concern. Research is needed to identify the factors responsible
A number of possible risk factors are being linked to the development of asthma.
Studies propose that susceptibility to childhood asthma is determined in the first three to five years of life, and in some cases as early as fetal development.
Proposed Risk Factors Include the Following:
- A family history of allergy and allergic disorders such as
hay fever, asthma and eczema
- In the early years of life high exposure of susceptible children to airborne allergens such as pets, house dust mites, cockroaches, and mould.
- Exposure to tobacco smoke, including in utero exposure
frequent respiratory infections early in life
The onset of asthma in adults may result from occupational exposures that include allergens, moulds, or fumes and gases.
It is believed unlikely that atmospheric pollution is a primary cause of asthma unless other factors are present. Most evidence however suggests that air pollution is a trigger for worsening asthma.
Statistics of Prevalence
According to Health Canada, Canadian children between the ages of 4 and 11 years, 15.6% have been diagnosed with asthma and the prevalence of physician diagnosed asthma among Canadians 12 years of age and over is 8.3% overall (2.2 million Canadians).
Diagnosed asthma is consistently higher among young boys than girls, but the reverse is true among adult women and men.
Between 1994-95 and 2005, the prevalence of physician diagnosed asthma increased by 60% among women in the 35-44 year age group and 80% among women aged from 45-64 years Prevalence also increased by 41% among men in the 35-44 year age group.
Reducing Risk and Minimizing Symptoms
Contributing factors have been identified, and persons do have the capability to minimize their exposure in attempt to reduce the effects of asthma. These include:
- Reduce exposure to airborne contaminants at school and
in the workplace
- Reduce exposure to second-hand smoke,
- Limit exposure to house dust mites, animal dander and moulds
Mattresses are ideal living area for the following
- Dust mites
- Pet Dander
- Older mattresses can have mould and mildew particularly if incontinence is an issue.
- Clinical research has shown that protection from dust mites, and the fecal pellet protein clouds they produce, results in a more rejuvenating and more restful sleep, which leads to a healthier quality of life.
Products Available To Help Manage Exposure
- Air Purifiers
- Mattress and pillow sleep health protection
- Pillows to reduce allergens
- Mattress toppers designed to increase comfort and inhibits growth of mould and bacteria
- Vacuum cleaners designed to reduce allergens
- Humidifiers to reduce the development of mould
- High quality furnace filters