What Is Second Hand Smoke And How It Affects Asthma
Secondhand smoke is basically a mixture of two types of smoke that originates from the burning of tobacco. These are:
- Mainstream smoke which is exhaled out directly by the smoker
- Sidestream smoke that comes from a lighted cigarette, cigar, or hookah
Lots of people who do not actually smoke, but have a family member as a smoker, have a question in mind: can passive smoking cause asthma?
To be true, passive smoke is found to be much more harmful than actually smoking.
This is due to the fact that the smoke coming out of a lighted cigarette or cigar tip contains more hazardous substances that includes nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, etc.
This can prove to be much harmful to health than the smoke which is inhaled directly by the smoker.
Studies show that secondhand smoke is actually more harmful to people who are already suffering from asthma or other respiratory issues.
When these people are exposed to such smoke they are highly vulnerable to getting asthma attacks and associated problems like shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.
Benefits Of Marijuana For Asthma
The two main chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that provide medical benefits for asthma are THC and cannabinoid . Cannabis for medical use is available with different concentrations of both THC and CBD.
Using marijuana is not as straightforward as just smoking weed and stopping an asthma attack. But marijuana may benefit people with asthma due to the following effects:
THC, which is one of the main compounds in weed is primarily responsible for the psychological effects of the drug. But it also has other effects on the body. THC may regulate immune cell activity and help suppress an abnormal immune system response, which may decrease asthma symptoms.
Suppressing the immune system may not seem like a good idea. But in people with allergic asthma, their immune system overacts to a normally harmless substance causing asthma symptoms. Suppressing that response may prevent asthma flare-ups.
The cannabinoids in marijuana are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Asthma causes inflammation in the airways, which can make breathing difficult. By decreasing inflammation, it may open the airways and ease asthma symptoms.
Babies And Small Children Are More At Risk From Cigarette Smoke
Dont smoke around your baby or child. Babies and small children take more smoke into their lungs than adults.
And because they’re still growing, and their immune system isn’t fully developed yet, they’re at greater risk from the toxins given out in the smoke.
Theyll be more likely to have chest infections and wheezing and coughing. And could be more at risk of an asthma attack. Theyll also be more likely to go on to develop asthma as they get older.
Cigarette smoke is a risk factor for unborn babies too, so avoid smoking or being around cigarette smoke if you are pregnant.
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How Does Adult Onset Asthma Compare With Childhood Asthma
Unlike children who often experience intermittent asthma symptoms in response to allergy triggers or respiratory infections, adults with newly diagnosed asthma generally have persistent symptoms. Daily medications may be required to keep asthma under control. After middle age, most adults experience a decrease in their lung capacity. These changes in lung function may lead some physicians to overlook asthma as a possible diagnosis. Untreated asthma can contribute to even greater loss of lung function!
Its Difficult To Say For Sure Why People Get Asthma But Thanks To Research Were Clear About Some Of The Risk Factors That Make Asthma More Likely
What causes asthma is different to what triggers asthma:
- The causes are the underlying reasons why someone gets asthma in the first place.
- Triggers are things like dust mites or pollen that can make asthma symptoms worse.
Here we look at what causes asthma, and where its possible for you to lower the risk. The good news is that some of these risk factors are things you can do something about.
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Dont Smoke In The Car
Cigarette smoke in a car is high risk because its a small, enclosed space. Even opening a window won’t make enough of a difference. Children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke in cars.
Thats why in England, Wales and Scotland its illegal to smoke in a car, or any vehicle, with anyone under 18 in it.
About Chemical Irritants And Asthma
Chemical irritants are found in some products in your house and may trigger asthma. Your asthma or your child’s asthma may be worse around products such as cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics or air fresheners. Chemical irritants are also present in schools and can be found in commonly used cleaning supplies and educational kits.
Chemical irritants may exacerbate asthma. At sufficient concentrations in the air, many products can trigger a reaction.
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What You Need To Know About Smoking Weed With Asthma
More states are legalizing the use of medical marijuana. Some states are going beyond just medical use and legalizing weed for recreational use. But is using marijuana safe for people with chronic diseases, such as asthma and can it help the condition? The answer may depend on the form of marijuana used, dose and the frequency.
Before deciding if smoking weed with asthma is the right choice for you, its helpful to learn a little more about marijuana. Marijuana is often referred to by different names, such as pot, weed, and grass. Regardless of what you call it, marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis contains various cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are compounds that bind to specific receptors in the central nervous system.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is probably the most well-known cannabinoid and is primarily responsible for the high or psychoactive effects. But other lesser known cannabinoids that are non-psychoactive may also have a therapeutic effect. Many factors influence the effects of marijuana including the types of cannabis used, the dosage and a persons experience using the drug.
How Does Tobacco Smoke Trigger Asthma
When a person inhales tobacco smoke, irritating substances settle in the moist lining of the airways. These substances can cause an attack in a person who has asthma.
In addition, tobacco smoke damages tiny hair-like structures in the airways called cilia. Normally, cilia sweep dust and mucus out of the airways. Tobacco smoke damages cilia so they are unable to work, allowing dust and mucus to accumulate in the airways.
Smoke also causes the lungs to make more mucus than normal. As a result, even more mucus can build up in the airways, triggering an attack.
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Video: What Happens After Being Diagnosed With Asthma
Transcript of âWhat happens after being diagnosed with asthma?â
0:00 It can be really scary to be told you have asthma and itâs natural to worry about how it might affect your life. The
0:08 good news is that thereâs lots of support out there to help you manage the condition and to help you to stay well.
0:15 You may wonder if your asthma can be cured. Well, even though we donât have a cure for asthma at the moment, thereâs so much we can do with the right medicines,
0:25 the right treatments, the right advice and support to help you stay well, so that the asthma wonât affect your life,
0:31 whether it be work or your play. You might find that when youâre just diagnosed with asthma it takes a little
0:38 bit of time to get your medicines just right so that you are living without symptoms every day. Be patient, hang on in there.
0:47 The most important thing is to develop a really good relationship with your doctor or nurse. With them you can draw up an asthma action plan, which you can
0:56 download from our website. Thatâll really help you to manage your asthma well, and we know that youâre four times less likely to need to go to hospital if
1:04 youâve got one of these. So, if you have just been diagnosed with asthma, try and stay positive. Thereâs so much you can do to stay well. You can visit our website,
1:14 or phone one of our friendly asthma nurse specialists, or even join a forum. Remember that weâre here to help.
The Potential Repercussion Of Substance Abuse On The Respiratory System
The respiratory systems principal function is to deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. The lungs are the primary organ in the respiratory system, which is actually quite complex and the system contains numerous other components, including:
- The mouth, nose, and nasal cavity.
- The pharynx, commonly called the throat, connects the mouth and nasal passages with the esophagus and larynx.
- The larynx, a muscular organ commonly called the voice box, which is essential for human speech and contains the vocal cords and allows air to pass into and out of the lungs.
- The trachea is commonly referred to as the windpipe and is a cartilaginous tube extending into the two bronchial tubes .
- The bronchi, which are the major air passages in and out of the lungs.
- The alveoli, which are tiny sacs in the lungs and the location where gas exchange occurs: carbon dioxide leaves the blood and oxygen enters itthe blood then distributes oxygen to the tissues in the body and picks up carbon dioxide to be exchanged when it gets back to the lungs.
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What Is Thirdhand Smoke
Thirdhand smoke is residue from tobacco smoke. When a cigarette is smoked, chemicals in the smoke stick to surfaces and dust for months after the smoke is gone. The chemicals in the residue then react to other pollutants in the air, like ozone, to create harmful particles you can easily inhale.1
Thirdhand smoke particles are extremely tiny, easily making their way into your lungs. These particles can stick to skin and clothing. Adults and children then breathe in the residue or absorb it through their skin or mouth. Some experts believe thirdhand smoke may be worse for those with asthma than nicotine.
Smoking outdoors does not reduce the threat of thirdhand smoke. Airing out rooms or cars doesnt help. Open windows, fans, air filters or confining smoking to certain rooms or outside will not reduce thirdhand smoke either.
The effects of tobacco go beyond its smoke. Doctors measure cotinine, a chemical found in tobacco, to find out how much nicotine in the body. Cotinine can be found in the urine of those who come in contact with thirdhand smoke.
The Risks Of Using Weed With Asthma
The marijuana plant itself doesnt appear to have an adverse effect on asthma unless you are allergic to it. However, smoking marijuana does have the potential to cause problems. Smoking weed ups your chances of developing lung cancer, and the smoke may aggravate asthma symptoms in many people, If your asthma symptoms appear to get worse when using cannabis, the potential benefits are probably not worth the risks, and you should discontinue use.
Q: Is weed bad for asthma?A:As long as you are not allergic to cannabis, there is no evidence that marijuana on its own is bad for asthma. Smoking weed may contribute to asthma symptoms, but it appears to be the smoke itself that is the irritant not the cannabis.
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Synthesis With Previous Studies
This large incident case-control study provides evidence of an increased risk of asthma in current and former smokers, especially in females. Previous studies have provided conflicting results. In two earlier longitudinal studies , , an increased risk of asthma in smokers compared with never or nonsmokers was found, in line with the current results. In contrast, in the study by Troisi et al., the risk of asthma among current smokers was approximately half that of never- and ex-smokers. The risk of asthma was increased among ex-smokers for the first 5yrs after quitting. In the study by Godtfredsen et al., ex-smokers had a higher incidence of self-reported asthma than never-smokers. In the 6-yr follow-up study from Finland , asthma risk was not increased in either current or ex-smokers compared with never-smokers. Two earlier cross-sectional studies have found a greater susceptibility to asthma in females in relation to smoking , , whereas no sex difference was observed in the Finnish 6-yr follow-up study .
Are There Any Special Considerations For Adults With Asthma
Many adults take several medications and/or use over-the counter medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, regularly. Work with your doctor to simplify your medication program as much as possible. Explore the possibility of combining medications or using alternate ones that will have the same desired effect. Be sure to discuss potential drug interactions with anything you take, including vitamins. Some asthma medications increase heart rate. If you have a heart condition, discuss those side affects with your health care provider. Older “first generation” antihistamines can cause men with enlarged prostates to retain urine. Oral steroids can make symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis worse. Adults with arthritis may need special inhalers that are easier to operate. Anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their doctor about getting a pneumonia vaccination. People with multiple medical conditions need to be aware of how their illnesses may affect one another.
This article was published by AAFA, copyright 1995. It can be accessed online at the following link.
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How Is Adult Onset Asthma Diagnosed
Asthma symptoms can mimic other illnesses or diseasesespecially in older adults. Hiatal hernia, stomach problems or rheumatoid arthritis can create asthma-like symptoms. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has many of the same symptoms as asthma. COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is very common in older adults, especially those who are or have been smokers. To diagnose asthma, your physician will question you about your symptoms, do a physical exam, and conduct lung function tests. In addition, you may be tested for allergies. Your primary care physician may refer you to a pulmonologist or an allergist for specialized testing or treatment. If you have any asthma symptoms, don’t ignore them or try to treat them yourself! Get a definitive diagnosis from your health care provider.
How Do You Get Asthma
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease caused by inflammation of the airways. Common symptoms are wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Asthma is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Although you cannot control your genetic makeup, you can control some of the environmental factors that may cause you to develop asthma.
Asthma triggers include:
- Chemical fumes
- Air pollution
- Workplace exposures
Medical studies on the prevalence of asthma have identified some interesting patterns. The strongest risk factor for developing asthma is a history of atopic disease . This increases the risk of both hay fever and asthma.
In children between 3-14, a positive skin test for allergies and an increase in immunoglobulin E increases the chance of having asthma. In adults, the more allergens reacted to during a skin test, the higher the odds of having asthma.
Other patterns that increase the risk of developing asthma include:
- Maternal smoking during and after pregnancy
- Antibiotic use early in life
- Presence of cockroaches in the home
You might be wondering about the reference above to obesity. It is thought that respiratory function decreases due to the buildup of adipose tissue and the fact that fat supports the development of inflammation in the body.7 A study in Taiwan actually correlated asthma symptoms with each 20% increase in body mass index . This should encourage all of us to maintain a healthy weight!
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Can You Develop Asthma From Smoking Weed
It appears that smoking weed will not cause asthma to develop. But in people that already have asthma, smoking weed may cause a flare-up of symptoms.
In some people, inhaling marijuana smoke into the lungs can increase asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest, due to airway irritation. There is also a risk that inhaling the smoke will lead to bronchospasm.
Underlying Inflammation Is A Hallmark Of Asthma
For instance, they understand that asthmatics have some degree of underlying airway inflammation that makes their airways hypersensitive when exposed to asthma triggers, causing asthma attacks. They also know that asthma attacks are completely reversible with either time or treatment.2,3
The inflammation present in most asthmatics is eosinophilic inflammation, and this is very responsive to corticosteroids. This is why most asthmatics respond well to inhaled corticosteroids and are able to obtain ideal asthma control.2,3
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How Can Asthma Attacks Be Prevented
If you or a family member has asthma, you can manage it with the help of your health care provider and by avoiding your triggers. Try to avoid asthma attacks by staying far away from tobacco smoke. Some other helpful tips are:
Jamason C. has had asthma attacks triggered by exposure to secondhand smoke.
I was 16. People were smoking near me. My chest got really tight. I was trying to breathe, trying to get air into my lungs. I couldnt bear it!
Real stories about asthma:
- Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your home or car. Opening a window does not protect you from smoke.8
- If your state still allows smoking in public areas, look for restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking. No-smoking sections in the same restaurant with smoking sections do not protect adequately from secondhand smoke8even if there is a filter or ventilation system.9
- Make sure your childrens day care centers and schools are tobacco-free. For schools, a tobacco-free campus policy means no tobacco use or advertising on school property is allowed by anyone at any time. This includes off-campus school events.8
- Teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke. Be a good role model by not smoking.8
There is no cure for asthma. However, to help control your asthma and avoid attacks:2
- Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you.
- Stay away from things that can trigger an attack.
- Long-term control