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Unusual Possible Causes of Asthma

By HERWriter
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A recent article on CNN.com linked asthma to dust cloud exposure from 9/11 in 13.5 percent of adults who had experienced intense dust clouds on that day. Recovery and rescue workers had it worse (probably because they were constantly in the dust). Apparently, the possible inhaling of large amounts of dust could irritate the airway, according to the article.

This article led me to a curiosity for other unusual causes (or possible causes) of asthma, since it is a prevalent health problem. According to EmpowHer.com, asthma is "inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes. Air travels in and out of the lungs through these tubes."

Another interesting article I found about possible causes of asthma was from the NY Times. This article claimed that cockroach remains in house dust were the main cause of asthma in children who lived in inner-city public housing. This outranks dust mites, dog dander and outdoor air pollen.

A HealthDay article posted on EmpowHer.com suggested that parental stress can increase the probability of children having asthma. Although main probable causes of asthma include air pollution from cars and children in the womb exposed to smoking, parental stress can agitate asthma related to these problems. By itself, stress and socioeconomic status didn’t increase asthma risk, the researchers said.

One of the researchers said the cause of asthma is still unknown. However, it seems that there are a lot of possibilities. For example, in women, it seems that intimate partner violence (IPV) can show an association with harmful health conditions and health risk behaviors, such as asthma. According to a study reported by the CDC, 16 percent of women who suffered from IPV also suffered from asthma, as compared to 9.4 percent of women who didn’t suffer from IPV. However, arthritis, smoking, binge drinking and risk factors for STDs and HIV were more concerning consequences of IPV.

Another HealthDay article posted on EmpowHer.com suggested that point-of-sale printers can trigger asthma, since they print on thermal paper that contains acrylates.

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There is an amazing number of airborne allergens and environmental "dandruff," if you will, that cause asthma-like symptoms.

In my office building, the vents have never been cleaned. Whenever the central air system kicks on, I start sneezing. I don't have asthma, but my office mate does, and it's annoying to be subjected to the stuff blowing out of dirty vents. We get terrible headaches. Someone told me that a woman who had worked in the building a few years ago complained to both the building property manager and our (government) employer. The response was to move her to another building - where conditions turned out to be worse. Go figure!

Dust mites and bed bugs around your bed can also cause asthma-like problems. I replaced my traditional spring coil mattress with a viscose foam one because such pests don't inhabit or survive in them. Keeping the ceiling fan blades clean is also important for controlling the amount of dust swirling about the room. Curtains, window blinds, lampshades, lightbulbs - so many surfaces you don't normally think about vacuuming or cleaning regularly can also pose problems as dust collectors.

These may not be such unusual sources of asthma, but I wonder how many non-asthmatic folks pay attention to these sources of irritation. Not many, judging by buildings and, I'm sorry to say, even some of the cleanest of homes I've been in.

And my least favorite problem: the cat box. I'm allergic to my daughter's cat and can't go near the cat box. Between the animal fur, dander and the litter, it's hard to breathe.

It's absolutely amazing how ordinary things we're surrounded by can be so problematic to our health!

August 13, 2009 - 6:39pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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