I'm sure you've heard of global warming, not to mention many of the crazy environmental happenings that people all over the world have been subjected to in recent years, from wild hurricanes, tornadoes, and typhoons, to heat waves and unseasonable cold spells. Seems like there's always something new to look forward to.
At the same time, the numbers of people who have asthma have been steadily rising with every decade. Less people die from asthma, which is great, but more of us are getting it, which isn't so great.
Researchers have started to wonder whether there is some kind of connection between the climate changes our world has gone through and the rise in asthma. So the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), along with other partners brought together a panel of experts to explore those issues, including:
- Gregg Mitman, a medical historian at University of Wisconsin-Madison
who wrote a recent book on global climate change and the changing allergy
- Mike Tringale, who is the Director of External Affairs of the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
- Dr. Jeffrey Wald, MD, who is in practice with Kansas City Allergy and Asthma Associates
The panel discussion was recorded and the podcast can be heard on the AAFA website. Some of the issues the panel discussed included:
- Have changing weather patterns due to global warming led to an earlier start to the spring allergy season?
- What are the arguments against a link between climate change and asthma?
- What environmental factors DO affect asthma?
- How does climate change influence allergic asthma and IgE?
I thought the podcast raised some interesting questions. It seems there is still much we don't know about how what's happening with our environment is influencing the rate and severity of allergic asthma and allergies, but one thing is certain – something is having an impact.
So, I'd say the more we can learn about what's going on, the better shape we'll be in to make positive changes that will have real benefits down the line on our health, both as individuals, as well as globally.
For more information, be sure to visit the AAFA website and listen to the podcast. (You'll need to scroll down to see the link on that page.)
- Gregg Mitman, a medical historian at University of Wisconsin-Madison who wrote a recent book on global climate change and the changing allergy landscape called Breathing Space
Published On: April 21, 2008