As environmental pollution increases and our exposure to toxic chemicals rises, so have the rates of asthma and respiratory diseases.
Before 1980, asthma in children was relatively rare and after that year it increased dramatically in all developed countries, and it has continued to rise. In 1980, the percentage of 0-17 year olds with asthma in the U.S. was 3.6 percent. By 1995 it was 7.5 percent. In 2009 it was 9.6 percent, which amounts to 7.1 million children. In addition, a further 17.5 million adults have asthma.
Far from being an irritating ailment, it is now one of America’s leading "childhood diseases" and is a major cause of childhood disability. There are an estimated 12.8 million school days lost due to asthma, so it also affects their education and potentially their career choices.
The number of visits to the doctor and the number of hospitalizations due to asthma is also increasing, which the medical profession thinks may mean the disease is becoming more severe. Since the 1990’s, asthma hospitalization rates for children reached a historic high. In 2004, around 3 percent of all childhood hospitalizations were the result of asthma.
The death rate among adults and children in the U.S. was 3,447 in the year 2007.
Since people in developed countries have access to good medical care, the situation is unsatisfactory. Many patients are no longer willing to simply "put up" with chronic ill health conditions for the rest of their lives. There are holistic ways to prevent and treat asthma.
• Don’t smoke. Adults who smoke and children who breathe in second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer asthma and other respiratory diseases.
• If you are pregnant, don’t take acetaminophen. This was widely thought to be safe for use during pregnancy, but a review of six studies has found that acetaminophen use in pregnancy is linked to asthma development in children. The review authors concluded "The use of paracetamol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of childhood asthma.