We have all cared for children with Asthma. What do you really know about the influence that the environment has on Asthma in children? “Asthma is a common chronic condition in children where environmental and genetic factors are implicated in causation. The rapid rise in asthma during the 1980s and 1990’s was too abrupt to be explained solely by change in prevalence of genetic variations.
Changing environmental exposures appear to be relevant to the high prevalence of asthma in the Western world, although some exposures are likely to be effective via epigenetic mechanisms.
Many environmental exposures have been linked to asthma causation, including allergens, smoking, dietary factors and respiratory infections. Recently, evidence has emerged to suggest that asthma causation may involve interactions between different environmental exposures and/or environmental exposures and atopy.”
The enclosed article published in the Open BMJ provides a summation of key findings from over 70 studies. The authors in part concluded:
There is no single exposure which seems likely to cause asthma and even ‘single’ exposures are invariably contaminated by other exposures. There was consistent evidence in the literature for associations between exposures to SHS, inhaled chemicals, mould, respiratory viruses, ambient air pollutants and maternal dietary components ,and increased asthma risk. However, each of these is a complex exposure and there was evidence of interaction between all these exposures.
There is evidence that asthma risk may be related to diversity of exposure to fungus and not exposure per se and our findings are consistent with this idea. There were inconsistent associations between asthma and exposures to pets, breast feeding and infant diet when considered separately but those intervention studies where asthma risk was successfully reduced often included modifications to some or all of these exposures.
There is further evidence that asthma risk can be reduced by early exposure to an environment that is diverse in many inhaled and ingested factors common to the human environment for millennia, such as animal dander, LPS, fungi and breast milk (but not including man-made chemicals).
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