Indoor allergens inflame asthma

Indoor allergens and inactivity are two factors that contribute to the increasing numbers of people with asthma. At the recent annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology held in Boston, researchers from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville reported that perennial, or recurrent asthma, has been increasing over the last 30 years, and that the strongest risk factor identified for that increase has been sensitization of indoor allergens such as dust and smoke. But because it isn’t clear that concentrations of indoor allergens have actually increased over time, some other aspect of the American lifestyle may be to blame.

"The consequence of sitting for three or more hours per day in front of the television, video, or computer are decreased activity, increased obesity, and increased exposure to indoor allergens," says Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, MD, of the University of Virginia.

Prolonged sitting also may influence lung mechanics and predispose children to asthma, he adds.