Asthma Complexities

  • Medical Author:
    George Schiffman, MD, FCCP

    Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Asthma Attack Treatment
Is our environment to blame for increasing asthma rates?

Asthma Rates Increasing...Are Environmental Exposures?

Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Scientists and physicians have noticed that the rates of asthma have been increasing in recent decades. This has been especially true in developed countries such as the United States. In fact, the American Lung Association has reported that asthma prevalence has risen from 34 cases/1000 people in the general population in 1982 to 56 cases/1000 in 1994.

Research into the causes of this striking increase in asthma has led to a number of possible explanations being proposed, but there has yet to be unanimous agreement on the reasons.

A study reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (1999; 159:125-29) evaluated a group of patients at two points in time, 30 years apart. The study performed by doctors in Scotland detected a significant increase in symptoms of allergic asthma and levels of antibodies to environmental allergic factors, such as dust mites, pets, and air pollutants over the three decades. Importantly, the researchers noted that there was an increase in the signs and symptoms of allergy, even in people without a family history of allergy!

Quick GuideAsthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications

Asthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications

Asthma complexities facts

What do all of these individuals have in common? An active 13-year-old becomes breathless shortly after her soccer games and coughs on a cold winter's night. A young woman has a dry, hacking cough that has persisted for a year after her last "cold." A teenager sleeps poorly and is awakened early every morning with chest tightness and difficulty breathing. What these individuals have in common is the possibility that they all may have asthma.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2015

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