Asthma is a condition that occurs because of an inflammation of the air passages going to the lungs. Irritation in the airway causes it to become highly sensitive, causing the lining of the path to swell up, which blocks the air going to the lungs. The severity of the disease varies from person to person. For one, it could be as simple as experiencing trouble in breathing. For those severely afflicted, asthma can be a life-threatening condition.
Scale of the Problem
Statistics record that around 100 to 150 million people worldwide suffer from bronchial asthma. It is believed that at no time soon will the numbers decline as time progresses. Mortality rates worldwide is recorded at approximately 180,000 people annually. Twenty-five to 30 years ago, only 2 percent of the Swiss population had the disorder. Recently this figure has risen to 8 percent. In Germany, records show that about four million of its population suffers from bronchial asthma. Medical records in Western Europe show that people suffering from asthma have doubled in the last 10 years. The numbers in the United States of America has risen exponentially. Cases have risen by 60 percent in recent years and deaths are rising by 5,000 in number a year. Japan has three million recorded asthmatic patients. One out of six children below 16 years old is affected by the disease in Australia.
The rise in bronchial asthma cases has been attributed to urbanization. This theory has never been concluded because indoor allergens have always been identified as the primary risk factor for asthma. Overexposure to tobacco smoke or exposure to chemical irritants can also lead to asthma. A sudden change in the weather, emotional extremes and exercise can trigger asthma attacks as well.
Researchers are still unable to determine the real cause of the 50 percent rise in asthma cases every year throughout the world. There have been cases where hundreds of citizens are afflicted with severe asthma attacks for no apparent reason.