Asthma is a chronic condition that affects millions of people across the UK. No doubt you've heard of the condition, but how much do you really know about it? Read on for 7 facts about asthma.
In the UK alone it is estimated that up to 5.4 million people suffer from asthma, and unfortunately it is believed that 3 people die of asthma every single day.
With spring fast approaching and pollen levels set to increase, it can often be a season that affects asthma sufferers, as pollen is a common trigger. However, the colder air that comes with the winter months can also trigger asthma attacks.
Asthma is often diagnosed in childhood, but can in fact affect people of all ages at any given point in their lives.
At the moment the exact causes of asthma are unknown, although the condition is thought be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. A tendency to develop asthma does seem to be inherited, as those whose parents have asthma are more likely to also have the condition.
Although pollen is big factor in triggering asthma attacks, many allergens around the home such as dust mites and pet dander can also factor in. Lesser known triggers of asthma attacks include cold air and extreme emotions such as anger and fear.
Although it is not exactly clear how exercise triggers asthma, it is known that when exercising, you breath faster, making it more difficult for the nose and upper airways to warm up and add moisture to the air you're breathing in. This means the air you are inhaling is drier and colder than usual, and for someone with asthma, this can trigger an attack.
A lesser known fact is that males are twice as likely to develop asthma as females, but the exact reason for this remains unknown. However, various studies show boys are more likely to have a positive allergy test. This demonstrates that males have a greater tendency for bronchial hyperresponsiveness and also appear to have different patterns of airway function development, which could be a trigger their asthma.