Asthma is a disease which attacks the lungs. It affects both children and adults. It causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing during the night and in the early morning. An asthmatic attack takes place when something affects the lungs.
It is a hereditary disease and chances are if one member has it in a family, others may be susceptible to it. It cannot be cured but can be controlled by knowing the signs before an attack and following the advice of a doctor.
Extremes of heat and humidity can trigger asthma attacks. Heat increases the metabolic rate and body temperature. This makes the body use more energy and oxygen. The need for more oxygen means faster or deeper breathing which is a problem for asthmatics. Extreme humidity makes it difficult to lower body temperature. The body will then have to work harder and longer, again increasing the need for oxygen.
High humidity coupled with high temperature can be dangerous. Humidity is high when its level goes above 45 to 50 percent, sometimes as high as 80 percent. Mould, which is an asthma irritant, takes place with high temperatures and humidity, and affects the airways. Mold appears anywhere and is a threat for asthmatics.
Research shows that global warming could lead to an increased incidence of asthma. Studies have shown a clear link between asthma rates and humidity. Climate change because of global warming could attack the incidence of asthma.
Why is high humidity bad for asthmatics? Humidified air is heavier than drier air. It contains water droplets making it difficult for asthmatics to breathe. Dust mites thrive in humid climate and are asthma triggers.
Extremely dry areas have increased smog levels. Dry air also irritates upper air passages and worsens asthma. So, moving to dry areas is not necessarily the answer.
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