Allergies and Asthma

The rate of allergies and asthma in children are on the rise. No one cause has been identified as the causative factor, but given the slow pace of genetic change, the rise of chronic 2015_10_8 iStock_Allergies and Asthmaillnesses likely reflects an increase in the burden of environmental exposures.

“A precipitous increase in incidence and prevalence of allergic diseases in the last decades leads to the current estimate that up to 50% of the population of Western societies shows reactivity on skin testing to one or more environmental allergens. In some subpopulations, up to one in four children suffer from asthma. One explanation for this dramatic increase in allergic diseases is the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ which posits that a decrease in the exposure to microbes due to improved hygiene, smaller families, less breastfeeding, more immunizations, and lack of serious childhood infections results in altered immunoregulation and deviation toward an allergic disease-promoting TH2 response. […] Lack of sufficient microbial exposure may result in weakened tolerance and, in the setting of other factors such as genetic predisposition and environmental exposures, result in the promotion of allergic disease.”

Tala A. Chatila, editor and contributor of “Allergic Disorders”, in the 2011 edition of Rudolph’s Pediatrics

Environmental triggers for allergy and asthma are an increasing concern because immune health is a delicate balance. A weakened immune system is permissive to infection, while an over-stimulated immune system produces allergic or autoimmune reactions.5

Even though allergy development can happen throughout life, it primarily begins in childhood and “can have long-lasting effects throughout the life of the individual and implies a considerable burden to society as a whole”.5

Focus for Health is dedicated to helping the community understand these diseases and their causes, as well as encouraging the public to make informed choices on how to keep our children and ourselves healthy.

Continue Reading:

  • Allergies

    What is an allergy? How do they develop? And what are the long-term effects?

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    What is asthma and how is it related to allergies?

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  1. Rudolph’s Pediatrics 2011, page 769
  2. Garcia-Lloret, 2011, page 773
  3. Rudolph’s Pediatrics 2011, page 1962
  4. Rudolph’s Pediatrics 2011, page 1963
  5. Garcia-Lloret, 2011, page 771

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The Focus for Health Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every individual has access to the information necessary to make optimal health decisions for themselves and their families.

The mission of the Focus for Health Foundation (FFH) is to promote advocacy, education, and research to combat the rise of chronic illness occurring around the world. We support efforts that increase public awareness of the connection between hazardous environmental exposures and the immune system, and address how social determinants of health and inequality within populations creates vulnerability to disease.


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