Around 200 to 250 million people are affected worldwide and nearly 250,000 people die per year from asthma. In Asia the rate of asthma is lower when compared to the United States. Asthma is more common in developed countries than developing countries.
Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. Young children who often wheeze and have respiratory infections are at highest risk of developing asthma that continues beyond 6 years of age.
Asthma causes and risk factors
Are you at risk of developing asthma
- Are you:
- Prone to developing allergies (known as Atopy). This is an inherited tendency.
- Have parents with asthma
- Had respiratory infections during childhood
- Exposed to airborne allergens or to viral infections during your chidhood when your immune system was developing
- Exposed to chemical irritants, industrial dust or pollutants in your workplace
What causes or triggers an asthma attack
- These include:
- Allergens from dust, animal fur, cockroaches, mould, and pollen from trees, grass and flowers
- Irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals or dust in the workplace, compounds in home décor products, and sprays (such as hairspray)
- Medicines such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and nonselective beta-blockers
- Sulfites in foods and drinks
- Viral upper respiratory infections, such as colds
- Physical activity, including exercise