Asthma’s impact on daily life
Untreated, asthma can cause poor concentration, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Those residing in low-and-middle-income countries are often hit hardest by asthma due to a lack of access to medical resources. As a result, people in these parts of the world are often under-diagnosed and under-treated. Those suffering from asthma, along with their families, are prone to miss out on school and work, leading to financial ramifications, as well as an impact on the community.
In the case of severe symptoms, asthma sufferers may require emergency health care and hospitalisation. At its most severe, asthma can be fatal, even in developed countries. In 2013, 9 year old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah sadly died in London from Asthma. She was the first person in the UK to have air pollution cited on by a coroner as a leading contributor to her death.
Asthma in developing countries
Despite its global reach and its perception on being a burden of wealthy countries, the majority of asthma-related deaths take place in low to middle-income countries. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, asthma causes 250,000 deaths a year – as many as die from stroke and diabetes in the USA.
Taking on asthma in developing countries is an arduous task. It can take almost 6 months to get diagnosed by a physician, a situation compounded by the fact that in many cases, developing countries may have as little as one physician for every 10,000 people. Asthma’s ability to thrive has been bolstered by an increase in air pollution and the rapid spread of industrialisation. The situation is further compounded by high drug prices and limited access to medical services. Education, or more accurately, the lack thereof, has also played its part. Many people living in developing nations have not heard of asthma and when sufferers have been educated, they have been able to utilise what’s naturally available to them, with some relying on natural remedies such as coconut oil to douse asthma flare-ups. Asthma education is key to dramatically curtailing its effects in developing countries.
What are the causes of asthma?
Anyone who’s walked through a busy city during rush hour knows the impact vehicle fumes can have on our lungs. Numerous factors have been found to increase the likelihood of asthma, and thus it’s been hard for those in the medical fraternity to home in on a single or direct cause.
- Obesity in both children and adults place these individuals at a higher risk of asthma.
- The likelihood of getting asthma is increased if other family members also have it – such as parents or siblings.
- Urbanisation has also been linked to an increase in asthma, and this encompasses several lifestyle aspects.
- Those with allergic conditions such as hay fever or eczema are more likely to have asthma.
- Events that effect the lungs during the early stages of development can increase the risk of asthma. This includes exposure to tobacco smoke, sources of air pollution, viral respiratory infections, prematurity, and a low birth weight.
- Exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution, chemicals, fumes, moulds, dust, and house dust mites – all of which can be blocked by wearing a Cambridge Mask PRO thanks to its carbon active filtration system - are also thought to increase the risk of asthma.
Lessening the strain of asthma
Masks, inhalers and clean home environments help to lessen symptoms of asthma. There is no cure, but asthma-geared education and good management with inhalers can grant sufferers a great degree of control over the disease which in turn can lead to an enjoyable, normal, active life.
Inhalers come in two forms: bronchodilators and steroids, with the former opening the air passages to alleviate symptoms and the latter reducing inflammation in the air passages. These devices reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks and fatalities. For some people, the daily use of an inhaler is vital, and treatment will be based on the repetitious nature of the symptoms as well as the various kinds of inhalers available. However, access to these life-saving devices is a problem in many countries. In 2019 it was revealed that only half of asthma sufferers had access to a bronchodilator and that in low-income countries, less than one in five had access to a steroid inhaler.
Masks can also be fantastic deterrents and the events of the last two-plus years have certainly proved their utility while also increasing their availability. Those burdened with allergy-induced asthma can capitalise on the benefits provided by the Cambridge Mask PRO as it offers the wearer a triple-layered filtering system that’s been tested and certified to filter out 99.6% of viruses, bacteria, and air pollution. The mask’s third and last filter is carbon-activated and was made by the UK military. Education is key in helping asthma sufferers and their families to know and understand more about asthma, what triggers to avoid, what treatment to get, and how to keep their symptoms under control. In some settings, community awareness is also important to dispel stigmas and myths associated with asthma.
It’s very easy for those of us who don’t suffer from asthma to overlook the burden it has on those who are afflicted by it. Taking good health for granted is something many of us are guilty of. As there is no cure for asthma, the management of symptoms is all that can be done. This is not to imply that medical breakthroughs aren’t occurring; the Indian Institute of Science recently unveiled findings indicating that Montelukast, a drug used for the treatment of Asthma, can reduce SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, from replicating in human immune cells. While these findings are related to the corona virus, it showcases the ingenuity of modern medical science and its constant evolvement. It’s the kind of reveal that gives hope to the notion that maybe one day, there will be a cure for asthma.
Disclaimer: Cambridge Mask is not a medical website. For any medical questions or advice, please consult a doctor or professional medical advisor.