How to Treat and Prevent Asthma

How to Treat and Prevent Asthma

Childhood asthma has dramatically increased in the past 30 years, along with hospitalizations that are costly to the US healthcare system. Exposure to cigarette smoke and pollution are considered likely factors in the increased national prevalence of asthma. Adult-onset asthma in the US is also on the rise. From the 1980s through 1990s, the prevalence of childhood asthma doubled - and certain regions of the country have a higher prevalence of asthma according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Approximately seven million children suffer from asthma (of which around one million had an asthma attack in 2011), according to the American Lung Association website. From 2001-2011, the number of individuals in the US living with asthma increased by 28% (per a CDC report entitled, "Asthma Facts: CDC's National Asthma Program Control Grantees" published in July, 2013). Asthma can be a life-threatening condition - especially in elderly individuals. The Northeast has a higher prevalence of asthma than in the South, according to the CDC.

Prevention of Asthma

Second-hand smoke is a major factor in childhood asthma. Obesity is also linked to the development of asthma (both in children and adults). While the air pollution level in urban areas may not be controllable by individuals, exposure to youngsters by parents is something that can be limited. The best approach is to embark on a smoking cessation program before childbirth.

Decreasing consumption of potato chips, candy, and ice cream can also prevent children from gaining more weight than advisable for their Body Mass Index (BMI). It is extremely difficult for obese children to lose weight as adults. Not only is obesity linked to the development of asthma, but sleep apnea has been highly correlated to a BMI in the "obese" range. Since a diagnosis of asthma has been well-linked to classroom absenteeism, preventing this condition in children can increase the likelihood of improved grades in school.

Pollen exposure is recognized as a trigger for an asthma attack - so springtime may be a particularly hazardous time for people with living with asthma. The height of pollen season occurs usually when trees are in the "new bud" phase. Limiting outdoor activities until buds have developed into leaves may lessen the likelihood of an asthma attack.

Quick-Relief and Long-Use Asthma Treatments

Corticosteroid inhalers are often prescribed for the long-term control of asthma symptoms, as well as the use of nebulizers (masks). For quicker, fast-acting relief, a person experiencing an asthma attack may utilize a beta2-agonist - such as albuterol - in an inhaler. Long-term use of corticosteroids has been associated with loss of bone density in older asthmatic individuals.

Impoverished urban neighborhoods have a disproportionate share of the population living with asthma. It is thought that environmental hazards may play a contributory role - such as poor overall air quality. The lack of health care access for residents of these areas has resulted in a higher reliance on hospital emergency rooms for asthma treatment. Increased healthcare access may enable low-income families in inner cities to obtain better treatment, and thereby reduce the cost burden to the healthcare system as a whole.

CATEGORIES: Allergies, Alternative Health, Kids' Health