By now, we are all well aware of the litany of concerns related to cigarette smoking, such as increased risks of heart disease, cancer, strokes, along with a number of other health related concerns. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, smoking contributes to over 480,000 deaths per year. For people with asthma, it can be an additional complicating factor.
The prevalence of asthma in the U.S. is estimated to be close to 9% of the population, meaning over 25 million Americans are affected by asthma. Unfortunately, here in Connecticut, the rates of asthma are even higher than the national figures. According to the State Department of Public Health, 11% of children, and 9% of adults in Connecticut have asthma. As you can see asthma is one of the most common diseases with which kids and adults in Fairfield County are having to cope. Asthma is responsible for over 400,00 hospitalizations, and over 1.8 million Emergency Department visits each and every year.
Individually, smoking and asthma can both impose significant health burdens. For asthmatics who are exposed to cigarette smoke, the effects can be severe, as smoke is one of the strongest triggers of an asthma exacerbation. Chronic cough is often linked to asthma and cigarette smoke, as smoke exposure leads to increased inflammation in the airways. That inflammation promotes mucus production, which often leads to cough. Although our recommendation is certainly for no one to smoke, that is even more important in asthmatics, as well as avoiding second-hand smoke.
Just remember, although cigarette smoke can cause long-term damage, it is never too late to quit!
For more questions or concerns about asthma and the various other triggers of asthma (pollen, pets, dust mites, mold, exercise) contact the asthma specialists at Advanced Specialty Care. We have offices in the Fairfield County, CT towns of Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield.
-Yogen A. Dave, M.D.