The United States economy spends about $56 billion health dollars on asthma and asthma-related complications each year. This chronic respiratory condition remains incurable, but is reasonably managed in many patients simply by identifying and avoiding triggers of an attack. Indoor air quality (IAQ) professionals from Puerto Rico-based Zimmetry Environmental, a company that provides environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies, recently published a report that outlines identified indoor triggers of asthma.
Asthma attacks commonly result from an allergic reaction, and can manifest as coughing, a feeling of tightness in the chest, wheezing, and dyspnea from bronchoconstriction and inflammation along the airways. Impaired mucus clearance is also a problem in asthmatics, as it can make breathing during an attack even more difficult.
The company’s specialists included the following triggers on their list, which corroborates several of those listed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The following are the most commonly found indoor triggers that are likely to precipitate an asthma attack:
- Tobacco Smoke
- Dust Mites
- Outdoor Air Pollution
- Cockroach Allergen
- Pet Allergens
The good news for those who suffer from Asthma is that all of the above-mentioned triggers are environmental and can be mitigated through changes in lifestyle and improvements in air quality, both indoors and outdoors. Harry Pena, the President of Zimmetry Environmental, said it is crucial to identify environmental triggers of asthma and effectively implement measures that reduce or eliminate them from a person’s home, school and work environment. A reduction in asthma attacks lessens health care costs and improves quality of life. “This information can be critical to preventing and controlling this chronic condition,” Pena said.
In other news on asthma, two separate but corroborative studies presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions suggest active asthma – a state that necessitates daily medication to control symptoms and prevent attacks – may significantly increase the risk of a heart attack. This highlights the importance of addressing any modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, especially in known asthmatics.