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Air pollution raises childhood asthma risk

Researchers from Denmark said exposure to increased levels of air pollution could lead to the development of asthma in children. According to the findings of their study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), asthma was also more likely to be found among children whose parents have the condition, or where the mother smoked during pregnancy.

However, the study found that reduction in pollution levels in areas of poor air quality may reduce the number of children who suffer from the disease. Children from wealthier backgrounds and those whose parents had a high level of educational achievement were less likely to have the condition, reported the ‘Science Daily’. Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma, your airways are always inflamed.

They become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something triggers your symptoms. Asthma, which may cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough and wheezing, can be minor or it can interfere with daily activities. In some cases, it may lead to a life-threatening attack. For the study, researchers examined data on Danish children born between 1997 and 2014. They were then tracked, some until they were 15 years old, to see whether or not they developed asthma or a persistent wheeze.

A total of 122,842 children were identified as having developed asthma or a wheeze. According to the study, youngsters exposed to higher levels of air pollution – measured through particulate matter or (PM2.5) – were more likely to have asthma or a persistent wheeze. “Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is the most worrying type of pollution for lung health, and disproportionately impacts certain groups, including the very young, older people and people with lung conditions such as asthma.”

 

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