Does blood group increase asthma risk? Have you heard this thing before? Recently, there have been several pieces of research investigating the relationship between blood group and asthma in a bid to identify persons who are at a risk earlier.
However, whether the current research findings available are dependable and conclusive remains questionable and shall be briefly discussed after we dissect firstly, the respiratory condition that is asthma. Understand the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of Asthma. Read further to know more about asthma.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory condition and disease of the lungs that causes a person’s airways to suffer restriction and inflammation, making breathing, talking, and heavy physical activities difficult.
With symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pains and tightness, wheezing, coughing, and fainting, asthma affects over 300 million people globally and can become life-threatening if left untreated.
Causes/Triggers Of Asthma
While the exact cause of asthma remains unclear despite research, the condition is birthed and triggered by environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, etc.
Aside from the three common causes above, existing medical conditions such as the flu, sinusitis, Irritants from perfumes or cleaning solutions, tobacco, weather, food preservatives, and anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen and naproxen have also been found to trigger asthma attacks.
Factors that increase a person’s risk of becoming asthmatic are:
1. Genes: That is, whether or not your parents are asthmatic.
2. Race: Asthma is prevalent in Blacks, African-Americans, and Puerto Ricans (read the research here).
3. Environment: That is, exposure to Air-bone pollution such as pollen, mould spores, dust mites, smoke, fumes etc.
4. Smoking. Including smoke inhaled by a mother during pregnancy.
5. Medical conditions: Such as lung infections, allergies, obesity etc.
The following are early warning signs of an asthma attack and indicators to be on the lookout for to ascertain whether or not you might have asthma.
1. Loss or shortness of breath.
2. Weakness when exercising.
3. Airway blockage or irritability: runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, etc.
4. Insomnia caused by breathing problems.
5. Rapid breathing.
6. Tight chest muscles, accompanied by anxiety and panic.
7. Blue lips and fingernails, etc.
Note, however, that asthma must not present in any two persons alike. Thus, an asthmatic patient can suffer attacks that will not present many of these signs.
Also, symptoms can be severe in some patients more than in others. Thereby causing one asthmatic patient to suffer attacks daily while another patient does not for years.
What Is The Relationship Between Asthma And Blood Group?
Due to genetics playing an important role in many medical conditions, respiratory included, currently, there are several pieces of research asserting asthma susceptibility as well as severity to persons with the blood group ABO (Read one here).
Notwithstanding the current research however, and given the sample size and inconclusiveness of most of these researches, it is our opinion that blood group cannot be conclusively said to be a risk factor for asthma currently.
To diagnose whether your respiratory problem is caused by asthma, your doctor will first perform a physical examination to rule out other possible conditions and respiratory infections. Afterwards, they will then recommend any of the following tests (which can be carried out at our centres) to measure lung function:
1. Chest X-ray: To identify any structural abnormalities or diseases (such as infection) that can cause or aggravate breathing problems.
2. Allergy test. To exclude the possibility of an allergy-causing your symptoms.
3. Peak flow test: To measure breathing and how quickly you can blow air out of your lungs.
4. Spirometry: To monitor lung condition and assess breathing.
5. FeNo lung test: To measure the nitric oxide level in the breath and inform the doctor of any inflammation in the airways.
Prevention from Asthma
Although there’s no way to prevent the respiratory condition other than embracing healthy lifestyle habits to reduce your risk factor, patients can avoid an attack by:
1. Identifying their triggers and avoiding them. These include knowing the intensity of exercise safe for you, the fragrances to avoid, and keeping warm or indoors during harsh weather.
2. Avoiding smoke of all kinds. Including tobacco, incense, candles, fires, and fireworks. If you smoke, immediately consider getting help to quit.
3. Always keep your inhaler on you and have a spare if possible.
4. Vaccinate and get a flu shot and pneumonia shot to avoid breathing complications.
5. Monitoring breathing regularly with a home peak flow meter.
6. Avoiding high-intensity exercises or physical activity.
7. Taking their medications as prescribed.
When To See A Doctor
If you’ve not been diagnosed with asthma, please see a doctor if you think your symptoms may be hinting at the condition.
If you have been diagnosed, please see a medical doctor urgently should your condition become life-threatening, or you’d like to change the course of treatment.
Also, regardless of our current opinion that blood type does not influence asthma risk, it is important that you know your blood group as it benefits in situations of medical emergencies and planning pregnancy.
Until we write to you next, don’t forget to take care of your health and read more health tips here.