Asthma Key facts
is one of the major noncommunicable diseases. It is a chronic disease of
the air passages of the lungs which inflames and narrows them.
estimates that 235 million people currently suffer from asthma. Asthma is
the most common non-communicable disease among children.
asthma-related deaths occur in low- and lower-middle income countries.
strongest risk factors for developing asthma are inhaled substances and
particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways.
can control asthma. Avoiding asthma triggers can also reduce the severity
management of asthma can enable people to enjoy a good quality of life.
- Asthma is characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person.
- Symptoms may occur several times in a day or week in
affected individuals, and for some people become worse during physical activity
or at night.
- During an asthma attack, the lining of the bronchial tubes
swell, causing the airways to narrow and reducing the flow of air into and out
of the lungs. Recurrent asthma symptoms frequently cause sleeplessness, daytime
fatigue, reduced activity levels and school and work absenteeism.
- Asthma has a relatively low fatality rate compared to other
- Asthma is under-diagnosed and under-treated. It creates
substantial burden to individuals and families and often restricts individuals’
activities for a lifetime.
The causes of Asthma
The fundamental causes of asthma are not completely
understood. The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are a combination
of genetic predisposition with environmental exposure to inhaled substances and
particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways, such as:
allergens (for example, house dust mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed
furniture, pollution and pet dander)
allergens (such as pollens and moulds)
irritants in the workplace
Other triggers can include cold air, extreme emotional
arousal such as anger or fear, and physical exercise. Even certain medications
can trigger asthma: aspirin and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and
beta-blockers (which are used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions
and migraine). Urbanisation has also been associated with an increase in asthma.
But the exact nature of this relationship is unclear.
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Sourced from The World Health Organisation in Health Facts
21 Apr 2016