Urban vs. rural factors that affect adult asthma.

Y. Jie, Zaleha Md Isa, X. Jie, Zhang Long Ju, Noor Hassim Ismail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this review, our aim was to examine the influence of geographic variations on asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults, which is important for improving our understanding, identifying the burden, and for developing and implementing interventions aimed at reducing asthma morbidity. Asthma is a complex inflammatory disease of multifactorial origin, and is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. The disparities in asthma prevalence and morbidity among the world's geographic locations are more likely to be associated with environmental exposures than genetic differences. In writing this article, we found that the indoor factors most consistently associated with asthma and asthma-related symptoms in adults included fuel combustion, mold growth, and environmental tobacco smoke in both urban and rural areas. Asthma and asthma-related symptoms occurred more frequently in urban than in rural areas, and that difference correlated with environmental risk exposures, SES, and healthcare access. Environmental risk factors to which urban adults were more frequently exposed than rural adults were dust mites,high levels of vehicle emissions, and a westernized lifestyle.Exposure to indoor biological contaminants in the urban environment is common.The main risk factors for developing asthma in urban areas are atopy and allergy to house dust mites, followed by allergens from animal dander. House dust mite exposure may potentially explain differences in diagnosis of asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults in urban vs. rural areas. In addition, the prevalence of asthma morbidity increases with urbanization. High levels of vehicle emissions,Western lifestyles and degree of urbanization itself, may affect outdoor and thereby indoor air quality. In urban areas, biomass fuels have been widely replaced by cleaner energy sources at home, such as gas and electricity, but in most developing countries, coal is still a major source of fuel for cooking and heating, particularly in winter. Moreover, exposure to ETS is common at home or at work in urban areas.There is evidence that asthma prevalence and morbidity is less common in rural than in urban areas. The possible reasons are that rural residents are exposed early in life to stables and to farm milk production, and such exposures are protective against developing asthma morbidity. Even so, asthma morbidity is disproportionately high among poor inner-city residents and in rural populations. A higher proportion of adult residents of nonmetropolitan areas were characterized as follows:aged 55 years or older, no previous college admission, low household income, no health insurance coverage, and could not see a doctor due to healthcare service availability, etc. In rural areas, biomass fuels meet more than 70% of the rural energy needs. Progress in adopting modern energy sources in rural areas has been slow. The most direct health impact comes from household energy use among the poor, who depend almost entirely on burning biomass fuels in simple cooking devices that are placed in inadequately ventilated spaces. Prospective studies are needed to assess the long-term effects of biomass smoke on lung health among adults in rural areas.Geographic differences in asthma susceptibility exist around the world. The reason for the differences in asthma prevalence in rural and urban areas may be due to the fact that populations have different lifestyles and cultures, as well as different environmental exposures and different genetic backgrounds. Identifying geographic disparities in asthma hospitalizations is critical to implementing prevention strategies,reducing morbidity, and improving healthcare financing for clinical asthma treatment. Although evidence shows that differences in the prevalence of asthma do exist between urban and rural dwellers in many parts of the world, including in developed countries, data are inadequate to evaluate the extent to which different pollutant exposures contribute to asthma morbidity and severity of asthma between urban and rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-63
Number of pages31
JournalReviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume226
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Asthma
Morbidity
Biomass
Dust
Cooking
Environmental Exposure
Smoke
Vehicle Emissions
Life Style
Urbanization
Health
Health insurance
Allergens
Allergies
Tobacco
Fungi
Dander
Developing countries
Air quality
Farms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Urban vs. rural factors that affect adult asthma. / Jie, Y.; Md Isa, Zaleha; Jie, X.; Ju, Zhang Long; Ismail, Noor Hassim.

In: Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Vol. 226, 2013, p. 33-63.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - In this review, our aim was to examine the influence of geographic variations on asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults, which is important for improving our understanding, identifying the burden, and for developing and implementing interventions aimed at reducing asthma morbidity. Asthma is a complex inflammatory disease of multifactorial origin, and is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. The disparities in asthma prevalence and morbidity among the world's geographic locations are more likely to be associated with environmental exposures than genetic differences. In writing this article, we found that the indoor factors most consistently associated with asthma and asthma-related symptoms in adults included fuel combustion, mold growth, and environmental tobacco smoke in both urban and rural areas. Asthma and asthma-related symptoms occurred more frequently in urban than in rural areas, and that difference correlated with environmental risk exposures, SES, and healthcare access. Environmental risk factors to which urban adults were more frequently exposed than rural adults were dust mites,high levels of vehicle emissions, and a westernized lifestyle.Exposure to indoor biological contaminants in the urban environment is common.The main risk factors for developing asthma in urban areas are atopy and allergy to house dust mites, followed by allergens from animal dander. House dust mite exposure may potentially explain differences in diagnosis of asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults in urban vs. rural areas. In addition, the prevalence of asthma morbidity increases with urbanization. High levels of vehicle emissions,Western lifestyles and degree of urbanization itself, may affect outdoor and thereby indoor air quality. In urban areas, biomass fuels have been widely replaced by cleaner energy sources at home, such as gas and electricity, but in most developing countries, coal is still a major source of fuel for cooking and heating, particularly in winter. Moreover, exposure to ETS is common at home or at work in urban areas.There is evidence that asthma prevalence and morbidity is less common in rural than in urban areas. The possible reasons are that rural residents are exposed early in life to stables and to farm milk production, and such exposures are protective against developing asthma morbidity. Even so, asthma morbidity is disproportionately high among poor inner-city residents and in rural populations. A higher proportion of adult residents of nonmetropolitan areas were characterized as follows:aged 55 years or older, no previous college admission, low household income, no health insurance coverage, and could not see a doctor due to healthcare service availability, etc. In rural areas, biomass fuels meet more than 70% of the rural energy needs. Progress in adopting modern energy sources in rural areas has been slow. The most direct health impact comes from household energy use among the poor, who depend almost entirely on burning biomass fuels in simple cooking devices that are placed in inadequately ventilated spaces. Prospective studies are needed to assess the long-term effects of biomass smoke on lung health among adults in rural areas.Geographic differences in asthma susceptibility exist around the world. The reason for the differences in asthma prevalence in rural and urban areas may be due to the fact that populations have different lifestyles and cultures, as well as different environmental exposures and different genetic backgrounds. Identifying geographic disparities in asthma hospitalizations is critical to implementing prevention strategies,reducing morbidity, and improving healthcare financing for clinical asthma treatment. Although evidence shows that differences in the prevalence of asthma do exist between urban and rural dwellers in many parts of the world, including in developed countries, data are inadequate to evaluate the extent to which different pollutant exposures contribute to asthma morbidity and severity of asthma between urban and rural areas.

AB - In this review, our aim was to examine the influence of geographic variations on asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults, which is important for improving our understanding, identifying the burden, and for developing and implementing interventions aimed at reducing asthma morbidity. Asthma is a complex inflammatory disease of multifactorial origin, and is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. The disparities in asthma prevalence and morbidity among the world's geographic locations are more likely to be associated with environmental exposures than genetic differences. In writing this article, we found that the indoor factors most consistently associated with asthma and asthma-related symptoms in adults included fuel combustion, mold growth, and environmental tobacco smoke in both urban and rural areas. Asthma and asthma-related symptoms occurred more frequently in urban than in rural areas, and that difference correlated with environmental risk exposures, SES, and healthcare access. Environmental risk factors to which urban adults were more frequently exposed than rural adults were dust mites,high levels of vehicle emissions, and a westernized lifestyle.Exposure to indoor biological contaminants in the urban environment is common.The main risk factors for developing asthma in urban areas are atopy and allergy to house dust mites, followed by allergens from animal dander. House dust mite exposure may potentially explain differences in diagnosis of asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults in urban vs. rural areas. In addition, the prevalence of asthma morbidity increases with urbanization. High levels of vehicle emissions,Western lifestyles and degree of urbanization itself, may affect outdoor and thereby indoor air quality. In urban areas, biomass fuels have been widely replaced by cleaner energy sources at home, such as gas and electricity, but in most developing countries, coal is still a major source of fuel for cooking and heating, particularly in winter. Moreover, exposure to ETS is common at home or at work in urban areas.There is evidence that asthma prevalence and morbidity is less common in rural than in urban areas. The possible reasons are that rural residents are exposed early in life to stables and to farm milk production, and such exposures are protective against developing asthma morbidity. Even so, asthma morbidity is disproportionately high among poor inner-city residents and in rural populations. A higher proportion of adult residents of nonmetropolitan areas were characterized as follows:aged 55 years or older, no previous college admission, low household income, no health insurance coverage, and could not see a doctor due to healthcare service availability, etc. In rural areas, biomass fuels meet more than 70% of the rural energy needs. Progress in adopting modern energy sources in rural areas has been slow. The most direct health impact comes from household energy use among the poor, who depend almost entirely on burning biomass fuels in simple cooking devices that are placed in inadequately ventilated spaces. Prospective studies are needed to assess the long-term effects of biomass smoke on lung health among adults in rural areas.Geographic differences in asthma susceptibility exist around the world. The reason for the differences in asthma prevalence in rural and urban areas may be due to the fact that populations have different lifestyles and cultures, as well as different environmental exposures and different genetic backgrounds. Identifying geographic disparities in asthma hospitalizations is critical to implementing prevention strategies,reducing morbidity, and improving healthcare financing for clinical asthma treatment. Although evidence shows that differences in the prevalence of asthma do exist between urban and rural dwellers in many parts of the world, including in developed countries, data are inadequate to evaluate the extent to which different pollutant exposures contribute to asthma morbidity and severity of asthma between urban and rural areas.

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