When it comes to asthma causes, researchers have identified strong links to some interesting factors, including where your neighborhood is situated, its proximity to traffic, and even the level of stress you encounter while living there. All of these variables can affect your children's chance of having respiratory problems.

Exploring Asthma Causes

It's long been recognized that children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds can have differing asthma risks. But whether these differences are due to inherited factors or whether they're situational has been unclear. That's why researchers have looked more in depth at variations in neighborhoods and socioeconomic status in order to identify patterns that could be significant when it comes to asthma prevalence.

Surprising Findings

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States in July of 2009 that explored asthma causes found some surprising connections. In fact, the researchers noticed that children who live in areas known to have high pollution levels aren't all at equal risk for how the pollution will affect their respiratory systems. Rather, those children whose parents experience higher stress seem to be at significantly increased risk for having asthma symptoms. In addition, children whose parents have lower levels of education also seem to be on the high-risk list.

The Links that Exist

Wonder what the link is? Researchers believe tobacco use may be one common denominator. It seems that parents who are dealing with high levels of stress, have low levels of education and live in lower-income neighborhoods are more likely than others to smoke cigarettes. Further, this group of parents may not be as informed about the risks of smoking while pregnant and its connection to childhood asthma. Further, with all of these factors being equal, scientists also believe that certain races have a higher predisposition to asthma as well, so for some groups, the odds could be stacked a bit higher against them.

What This Means

Regardless of your race, socioeconomic status, and where you live, these findings can serve as an important reminder to make an effort to reduce your children's risk to second hand smoke, both in the womb and also after birth.

That way, even if you do live in a neighborhood that has increased exposure to environmental factors, including pollution and traffic, you can help to lower the risks of childhood asthma and give your kids the healthiest start possible.




Journal of the National Medical Association


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences http://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12406