How does Air Pollution Trigger Asthma

by Garreth Myers

Asthma is an immune system problem that affects many people across the world. It is a condition where the air passages are constricted because of an allergic reaction in the tissue of the air passages. This can cause difficulty in breathing, wheezing and coughing. In severe conditions, a patient may suffer from complete loss of ability to breathe which, if not treated, will lead to asphyxiation and possibly death. Asthma is a reactive condition which occurs in the form of attacks. For the most part, a patient will not experience any symptoms. However, before, during and after an attack, the symptoms will be present and will cause discomfort to the patient. People diagnosed with asthma are advised to carry portable nebulizers with them which allow them to spray an anti-allergic substance into the throat which calms the inflammation down and helps to restore air flow to the lungs.

Asthma is usually associated either with stress or with an allergen present in the same environment as the patient. There are many different allergens that can cause asthma symptoms to develop in a patient. These allergens vary from person to person, but there are some common allergens that tend to affect most asthma sufferers. Some people with acute conditions may be affected by vapors of certain chemicals as well. Paint vapors are known to trigger asthma conditions.

Air pollution is a relatively modern phenomenon. There are some natural causes for air pollution but most of the causes are related to manmade conditions. Dust storms are an example of natural causes of air pollution. However, most air pollution occurs as a result of industrial activity and various other aspects of modern society. Air pollution is known to cause problems with asthma as well.

When the air is polluted, this pollution enters the respiratory system as well. Polluted air naturally has less fresh oxygen in it as it contains various other gases as well. The real problem with air pollution when it comes to asthma and normal respiration is the presence of what is known as suspended particulate matter. This can be defined as fine dust that hangs in the air and is inhaled by humans. This fine dust can coat the respiratory tract. Asthma patients may react to the presence of this fine dust itself. However, the coating of the respiratory system itself is enough to reduce its efficiency. Under this circumstance, an asthma patient may experience stronger reactions to substances that otherwise do not cause reactions to occur.

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