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Long-term pollution link to asthma (#1996)
People who are exposed to air pollution for a long time are much more likely to have poorly-controlled asthma, French researchers say.
More than 480 people with asthma were asked about their condition, including their use of medication over the last three months to a year, number of asthma attacks and whether they required hospital treatment.
Some 44% of the group had well-controlled asthma, 29% had partially controlled and 27% had uncontrolled asthma, the study, which is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found.
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Uncontrolled asthma includes symptoms such as being woken up in the night with shortness of breath, using quick-acting inhalers a lot, using steroids to control asthma and going to hospital with symptoms.
The team of researchers from France then calculated each person's exposure to levels of ozone (O3), nitrous oxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) at their home address, using data from the French Institute of the Environment.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers said levels of ozone and particulate matter were strongly associated with poorer asthma control.
Long-term exposure to ozone caused a 69% increased risk of uncontrolled asthma, while particulate matter increased the risk by 35%. Women and older people were more likely to have poorly-controlled asthma.
"Our results indicate that both ambient O3 and PM10 concentrations jeopardize asthma control in adults," the authors said: "The results are robust."
Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said: "What is particularly interesting about this new research is that a link has now been made with long-term exposure to air pollution and worsening asthma symptoms.
"This really highlights the importance of measures to improve air quality, such as congestion charging and low emission zones, and that people with asthma living in highly-polluted areas need to pay particular attention to making sure their asthma is well-managed."