Common Environmental Risk Factors For Asthma And Depression
Obesity generates a systemic inflammatory milieu that increases the risk of numerous somatic conditions, including both asthma and MDD. Epidemiologic studies suggest that there is an increased prevalence of asthma in obese adults, that this relationship is dose dependent, and that the link is stronger in women . This association may reflect the direct mechanical effects of obesity, immune system alterations, or the effect of hormones such as leptin imposed by excess weight.
Obese individuals also appear to be at increased risk of developing MDD . The etiology of this seemingly bidirectional relationship is unknown but likely involves genetic and environmental influences, including the psychological experience of being overweight, as well as alterations in various hormones and cytokines. Although iatrogenic and clinical disease factors are most often implicated, it is possible that MDD and obesity share common pathogenic factors, including dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, neurotransmitter systems, and/or immune function .
Smoking during Pregnancy
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:
- Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
- Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma has multiple causes:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Asthma can also be:
- Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
- Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
In addition, there are these types of asthma:
Research For Your Health
NHLBI-supported research on asthma has led to more and better treatment options to improve the health of people who have asthma. Through our current research, we hope to better understand how our genes and the environment we live in affect our risk for developing asthma.
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Evaluating An Asthma Attack
Because people who are having a severe asthma attack commonly have low blood oxygen levels, doctors may check the level of oxygen by using a sensing monitor on a finger or ear . In severe attacks, doctors also need to measure levels of carbon dioxide in the blood Arterial Blood Gas Analysis and Pulse Oximetry Both arterial blood gas testing and pulse oximetry measure the amount of oxygen in the blood, which helps determine how well the lungs are functioning. Arterial blood gas tests are invasive… read more , and this test typically requires obtaining a sample of blood from an artery or, occasionally, a vein. However, carbon dioxide levels can sometimes be monitored in the person’s breath using a sensor placed in front of the nose or mouth.
Doctors may also check lung function, usually with a spirometer or with a peak flow meter. Usually, a chest x-ray is needed only when asthma attacks are severe, in order to rule out other serious conditions .
How Can I Tell What Causes And Triggers My Asthma
Figuring out what was going on around you when you had an attack is the first step to identifying your triggers.
Your doctor may also do blood testing or ask you to use a device called a peak flow meter. It measures how much air you exhale and how quickly it comes out. It can alert you to changes in your breathing and the onset of asthma symptoms.
Ask your asthma doctor if using a peak flow meter would help you narrow down the causes of your asthma.
It can be tough to identify them all, and they can change. For example, you might not have been bothered by tree pollen when you were a child, only to have a problem with it as an adult.
Even when you know your triggers, you might have a hard time avoiding them in certain situations. For example, you may notice that your workplace is cleaned with a cleaning product that bothers your lungs.
Thatâs why itâs so important to work closely with the doctor who treats your asthma. They can help you think of strategies to avoid triggers, or at least cut down on the amount of time you spend near them. They can also make sure you have the right medication when an asthma attack does strike.
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What Is An Asthma Trigger
A trigger is anything that irritates your airways. Asthma is caused by two types of triggers.
- Allergic trigger: cause allergic reactions. Allergic triggers include things like dust mites, pollens, moulds, pet dander,
- Non-allergic trigger: are usually irritants. Non-allergic triggers include things like smoke, cold air, certain air pollutants, intense emotions
Learn more about different types of asthma triggers and how to manage them.
Natural Selection And Evolution
Mutations alter an organism’s genotype and occasionally this causes different phenotypes to appear. Most mutations have little effect on an organism’s phenotype, health, or reproductive . Mutations that do have an effect are usually detrimental, but occasionally some can be beneficial. Studies in the fly suggest that if a mutation changes a protein produced by a gene, about 70 percent of these mutations are harmful with the remainder being either neutral or weakly beneficial.
studies the distribution of genetic differences within populations and how these distributions change over time. Changes in the in a population are mainly influenced by , where a given allele provides a selective or reproductive advantage to the organism, as well as other factors such as , , , and .
Over many generations, the genomes of organisms can change significantly, resulting in evolution. In the process called , selection for beneficial mutations can cause a species to evolve into forms better able to survive in their environment. New species are formed through the process of , often caused by geographical separations that prevent populations from exchanging genes with each other.
DNA can be manipulated in the laboratory. are commonly used enzymes that cut DNA at specific sequences, producing predictable fragments of DNA. DNA fragments can be visualized through use of , which separates fragments according to their length.
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Having An Asthma Action Plan
You and your doctor will also put together an asthma action plan. This is a personalised set of instructions that includes a list of your usual asthma medications and doses, guidance on what to do in different situations , and your doctors contact details.
Recombination And Genetic Linkage
The diploid nature of chromosomes allows for genes on different chromosomes to or be separated from their homologous pair during sexual reproduction wherein haploid gametes are formed. In this way new combinations of genes can occur in the offspring of a mating pair. Genes on the same chromosome would theoretically never recombine. However, they do, via the cellular process of . During crossover, chromosomes exchange stretches of DNA, effectively shuffling the gene alleles between the chromosomes. This process of chromosomal crossover generally occurs during , a series of cell divisions that creates haploid cells. , particularly in microbial , appears to serve the adaptive function of repair of DNA damages.
The first cytological demonstration of crossing over was performed by Harriet Creighton and in 1931. Their research and experiments on corn provided cytological evidence for the genetic theory that linked genes on paired chromosomes do in fact exchange places from one homolog to the other.
Genes generally their functional effect through the production of proteins, molecules responsible for most functions in the cell. Proteins are made up of one or more polypeptide chains, each composed of a sequence of . The DNA sequence of a gene is used to produce a specific . This process begins with the production of an RNA molecule with a sequence matching the gene’s DNA sequence, a process called .
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How To Tell If Your Asthma Is Severe
Doctors differentiate severe asthma from other, milder forms of asthma according to the frequency and intensity of a persons symptoms.
For starters, severe asthma is persistent, which doctors define as asthma that causes symptoms more than twice a week, explains Patricia Takach, MD, an associate professor of clinical medicine in the section of allergy and immunology at the University of Pennsylvanias Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. For many severe asthma sufferers, symptoms occur daily.
What Is Asthma In Children
Asthma is a long-term lung disease that causes your childs airways to become sensitive to certain things . Several things happen to the airways when a child is exposed to triggers:
- The lining of the airways swells.
- The muscles around the airways tighten.
- The airways make more thick mucus than normal.
All of these things will cause the airways to narrow. This makes it difficult for air to go in and out of your childs lungs, and leads to the symptoms of asthma.
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How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms
You should keep track of your asthma symptom. Its an important piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may ask to use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.
Allergies Make Asthma More Likely
Children with allergic rhinitis or eczema, or a family history of allergies, are more likely to develop asthma. Children with a food allergy are said to be four times as likely to have asthma as children without a food allergy.
So, if your child is wheezing or coughing, and they also have a history of allergic rhinitis , eczema, or a food allergy, its much more likely that their symptoms are due to asthma.
Sometimes allergies overlap and sometimes your child will grow out of one allergy and develop another. For example, a small child with eczema may go on to have a food allergy, and then, as they get older, hay fever, and then asthma.
Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed in children.
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Drugs And Food Additives
Beta blockers, which often are prescribed for high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraine headaches and angina, can cause bronchospasm, an airway tightening. Patients with asthma should consult their allergist about the use of these medications.
Food additives rarely trigger asthma. The most common food trigger for asthma is sulfite, a preservative used in such products as frozen potatoes and some beers and wines.
Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome
Doctors suspect asthma based largely on a personâs report of characteristic symptoms. Doctors confirm the diagnosis by doing breathing tests Pulmonary function tests measure the lungs’ capacity to hold air, to move air in and out, and to absorb oxygen. Pulmonary function tests are better at detecting the general type and severity… read more ). The most important of these tests are measures of the amount of air a person can blow out in one second. These tests are done before and after giving the person an inhaled drug, called a beta-adrenergic drug , that reverses airway narrowing. If test results are significantly better after the person receives the drug, asthma is thought to be present.
If the airways are not narrowed at the time of the test, a challenge test can help confirm the diagnosis. In a challenge test, pulmonary function is measured before and after the person inhales a chemical that can narrow the airways. The chemical is given in doses that are too low to affect a person with healthy lungs but that cause the airways to narrow in a person with asthma.
Repeatedly measuring lung function over time allows doctors to determine the severity of the airway obstruction and the effectiveness of treatment.
A chest x-ray is usually not helpful in diagnosing asthma. Doctors use chest x-rays when considering another diagnosis. However, a chest x-ray is often obtained when a person with asthma needs to be hospitalized for a severe attack.
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Low Levels Of Vitamin D
Some studies suggest a link between very low levels of vitamin D and children with wheeze, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. Good levels of vitamin D during early pregnancy have been found to lower the risk of early wheezing in children.
Its thought that vitamin D deficiency may be adding to the numbers of people with asthma and other allergies.
Your GP can do a blood test to check your vitamin D levels. If they are low they may suggest supplements.
Find out more about taking vitamin D.
How To Tell If You Have Asthma
When something triggers your asthma symptoms, the membrane lining your airways swells, the muscles around the tubes constrict, and the airways fill with mucus. As these tubes narrow it becomes more difficult to breathe, causing symptoms such as wheezing and coughing, congestion, shortness of breath, and chest tightness or pain. If you have asthma, performing normal daily activities can be strenuous, and it may take longer to recover from a respiratory infection, such as a cold or flu.
An asthma attack or flare-up is a sudden worsening of these symptoms, including severe wheezing, uncontrollable coughing, rapid breathing, sweating, and anxiety. These symptoms require immediate medical attention.
But not everyone experiences asthma in the same way. Symptoms vary from person to person, can change with age, differ between attacks and may intensify during exercise, with a cold, or under periods of elevated stress.
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Can Asthma Be Prevented
Asthma cant be prevented entirely, but there are some practical ways to reduce the risk of an asthma attack and live well with asthma.
- Get vaccinated for influenza: flu and other respiratory viruses are common triggers for asthma.
- Manage any allergies: asthma and allergies are closely linked, so treating allergic rhinitis and avoiding or managing any allergy triggers will help with your asthma.
- Live smoke-free: quit smoking if you smoke, and avoid any second-hand smoke .
- Eat well: a balanced diet helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese makes asthma harder to manage.
- Care for yourself: mental health and asthma are linked, so let a trusted friend or your doctor know if you have been feeling sad or anxious, or dont enjoy things as much as before.
- See your doctor regularly: asthma needs to be regularly assessed and managed, and your medication needs may change over time. Ensure your asthma action plan is up to date by checking in with your doctor regularly.
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The updated guidelines also recommend a type of drug called a long-acting muscarinic antagonist to improve symptoms for these age groups. And for young children who wheeze only when they have a respiratory tract infection , the new guidelines recommend a short course of inhaled corticosteroids plus a rescue inhaler as needed. This can prevent worsening of breathing problems and forestall the need for corticosteroid pills.
Most asthma medications are breathed in through the use of an inhaler or nebulizer. There are two main types of inhalers a metered dose inhaler , which uses a pressurized medicine-filled canister, and a dry powder inhaler , containing medicine in powdered form. A nebulizer uses a mask and delivers medication as a mist. Its important to learn the different techniques for using these devices to ensure the medicine reaches your lungs.
There are few evidence-backed natural remedies for asthma, particularly if your case is severe. But lifestyle changes, like controlling stress, and some complementary therapies, like acupuncture, may help manage symptoms.
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Forgiveness Is The Last Key To Healing From An Autoimmune Disease
Dont discount this last step it is of critical importance. Dr. Wright identified unforgiveness as the number one block to healing, so its essential to remove that block before moving forward in your healing process. You have a battleground, and it includes the difficulties and hurts youve faced. Its time to lay that all down before the Father and release it to Him.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but one thing , forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 KJV
God wants you to forgive those in your families who didnt know how to love or accept you properly. Why should you have a disease because of their shortcomings? Why would you hold their sin in your body? Jesus set the perfect example of forgiveness when He hung, dying on the cross. He said of His murderers, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!
God says that He forgives us as we forgive others. If we want to receive His forgiveness, we need to be willing to forgive those who have hurt us or offended us.
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:25-26 KJV
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