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Asthma: No relation to tobacco

May 5 2004 at 12:36 PM
noLIES  (Login steelblue)
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http://www.canada.com/regina/leaderpost/news/story.html?id=549a33ef-755f-4078-bab3-b4c2ecc2f35d

Saskatchewan could be spared as asthma balloons in the world.

While the number of asthma cases around the world could rise by an many as 100 million over the next 20 years, Saskatchewan officials are quietly confident the Saskatchewan caseload could be levelling off.

A recent report, released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), predicts the number of asthma cases around the world could rise from 300 million to 400 million over the next 20 years.

However, there are indications that Saskatchewan won't necessarily experience big increases, says Jan Haffner, vice-president of health initiatives for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.

"We have a sense that perhaps the rates have levelled off (in Saskatchewan) but epidemiolgy is never static so we'll always be following this," Haffner said Tuesday, on World Asthma Day. "Will we see an increase? It's hard to say."

Haffner added there are still many reasons to be vigilant about the disease.

"There's definitely been an increase in the number of cases over the last 10 years in this province, especially in children," she said.

There are no definite theories to explain why rates have increased, but the thinking is that most are related to the continued urbanization of most of the world's population.

"What they're finding in a rural environment is there may actually be a protective mechanism that occurs because the children are exposed to allergens at different points at different ages," she explained. "So being exposed early on to certain allergens may actually be protective in the development of asthma."


 
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