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   Health > Ailments > How Common Is Asthma
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How Common Is Asthma And Am I at Risk?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by episodes of airflow obstruction. Symptoms of an asthma attack include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. People with asthma have very sensitive airways that narrow in response to certain 'triggers', leading to difficulty breathing. Asthmatics also suffer acute attacks during which air passages in the lungs narrow and breathing becomes difficult.

It is sometimes referred to as a disease of twitchy or reactive lungs, which means that the airways of the lungs are extremely sensitive to irritants such as pollen, animal dander (hair, feathers, or skin), dust, or tobacco smoke. In addition, many children with asthma often have allergic eczema and food allergies when they were younger and later get on in life some develop allergic rhinitis.

How Common Is Asthma

Asthma is the commonest chronic childhood disease in Hong Kong and the rest of the world. It is estimated that Australian prevalence rates are one of the highest in the world, along with New Zealand and the UK. In the United States as many as 6million kids have it. More than 3,000 young people are hospitalised every year in Wisconsin with asthma.

It is also the most commonly seen conditions resulting in hospital admission and is the leading cause of school absences - accounting for 13 million missed days per year - that can result in low grades, missed extracurricular activities, and social isolation. Asthma is without a doubt the most common chronic disease of children and young adults. And it's on the increase and now is becoming the most common chronic disease in children.

Asthma is responsible for an estimated $6 billion in direct(medical) and indirect (loss of productivity) costs each year. Disability and death due to asthma is largely preventable with close medical management.

Treatment of Asthma

Asthma is not contagious. It is a lifelong disease which can be controlled with daily medications. Asthma is not currently preventable or curable, but it is controllable and most people who have it can lead active, relatively normal lives.

Medications to decrease the inflammation and swelling of the airways are also often used. Since asthma is an incurable disease, regular care from your physician is important. Medically, we know that the more inflammation there is in your airways, the more hypersensitive or 'twitchy' they are. If your airways are swollen, even little triggers can irritate them. Medication should never be adjusted without discussing this with your doctor.



Medications for long-term control of asthma include inhaled corticosteroids, cromolyn, nedocromil, leukotriene modifiers and long-acting bronchodilators. Inhaled corticosteroids remain the most effective anti-inflammatory medications in the treatment of asthma.

Who Is Affected By Asthma

Asthma is more common in places where you have more crowded living conditions, more infection, less access to health care, and I'm not talking about just health care, but top quality health care where people know what they are doing. The people suffering from asthma are often people who live in urban inner cities. African Americans are especially at risk because they more often live disproportionately in urban inner cities so are affected by these conditions more.

In conclusion, for a person with asthma, everyday things can trigger an attack but with proper medication and education asthma shouldn't hold you back or halt you from having a full and active life.

About the author:
Barry J McDonald
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