Asthma is an illness that is more common than people realize, affecting many thousands of people all over the United States every year. It affects sleep, social interactions, mood, focus and can even, in extreme cases, be deadly. A new study has now shed light on a connection between growing up on a farm and healthy lungs that could help scientists understand and combat the progression of asthma in the future. Read a bit about why kids who grow up on a farm may have a lower risk of asthma in Atlanta and all over the world.
Asthma is a chronic illness which targets the lungs and airways, which become inflamed and swollen, making them sensitive to irritants such as allergens, and when they encounter such irritants, the lungs tighten up and constrict the air paths. This leads to shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and the production of excess mucus. In the worst cases, this leads to organ damage as important organs fail to get the oxygen they need to properly function.
The new study out of Ghent University in Belgium has discovered that the very exposure to dirty air and irritants on farms may help children avoid getting asthma in the future. The knowledge that growing up on a farm is connected to fewer incidents of asthma is not new, but the latest study may indicate just why this is.
The results indicate that the bacteria that get into the air from animal manure and feed, and tend to be found in farm dust, trigger children’s lungs to have an inflammatory response. This response is only temporary, but trains the immune system to battle asthma infections later in life. There is a molecule that works with that reaction, which in asthma patients is often disabled. This means that the stronger the molecule is, the less likely it is to be disabled, and less likely the patient is to develop asthma as a result.
Allergies, Asthma and Over-Cleaning
The study hammers home a current theory that part of the reason we suffer from allergies and asthma more often now than in the past is our fear of germs. This “hygiene hypothesis” says that we over-clean ourselves and rely too much on antibiotics, which has the effect of weakening our immune system. While most past studies regarding this hypothesis have involved allergies, this is the first one to specifically look at asthma.
This study dovetails with many of those that have come before and targeted allergies. The next step is to find a way that they can use the results of the research to help develop immune protocols and treatments for the illness. Currently direct exposure can be dangerous as it can in some cases trigger worse responses.
Asthma in Atlanta
If you live in Atlanta and suffer from asthma symptoms, your best bet is to visit a qualified ENT doctor. Read more about what asthma is and how it works, and give us a call for an appointment to get your treatment started today.