Asthma is a chronic (long-term, ongoing) inflammation of the airways (bronchi) of the lungs. The inflammation irritates the respiratory tract and causes breathing problems.
Most asthmatics experience sudden seizures or bothersome or severe breathing problems characterized by mild or no symptoms.
Asthma is an inflammatory reaction that is triggered by external factors or certain situations.
When a person with asthma is exposed to one of its triggers, the inflammation worsens and symptoms appear.(1)
Life Expectancy Of Someone With Occupational Asthma
Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with medication. You have a better chance of controlling your asthma if it is diagnosed early and treatment begins immediately. With the right treatment, you can have fewer and less severe seizures. Without treatment, more frequent and severe seizures may occur. A patient with a serious asthma attack may die from it. Early detection and avoidance of the asthma trigger are particularly important in occupational asthma.
Because people spend so much time at work, they are often exposed to their triggers in occupational asthma when the cause of the symptoms is identified as asthma. As evident from studies, the longer you are exposed to your trigger, the more likely you are to suffer from permanent pneumonia and respiratory hypersensitivity.(3)
Life-Expectancy Depends Upon Your Lifestyle Choices
The bottom line is that a person with asthma may have the longest life expectancy until they have asthma. However, studies have identified three risk factors for a short life span for asthma: smoking, irritability, and the presence of lifestyle choices.
In developed nations, this type of asthma has become a typical lung disease related to work conditions. For many asthmatics in the United States and other developed countries, the condition is at least partially related to their work. The situation may be even worse in developing countries where many small workplaces do not follow the norms to maintain a safe environment for their workers.(4)
Seek Medical Help At The Earliest
If you have asthma symptoms at work that increase from work, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If you are suffering from occupational asthma, you should have an action plan prepared in advance with your healthcare provider. This plan should include instructions on what to do if an asthma attack occurs or when to call the doctor, and when to go to the hospital emergency department.(4)
Occupational asthma is a typical respiratory condition prompted by exposure to a workplace stimulus. A trigger is an external factor or condition in the body that causes the appearance or worsening of asthma. There is a long and diverse number of recognized triggers for this disease. The trigger is usually inhaled by the patient resulting in asthma.(1)
Occupational asthma can occur in almost any area of work or environment, including offices, shops, hospitals, and medical facilities.
Asthma triggers include air pollution such as smoke, chemicals, vapors (gases), aerosols, dust or other particles. Respiratory infections such as colds and flu (viruses); allergens in the air, such as mold, animal hair and pollen; extreme temperatures or humidity; and emotional excitement or stress can also contribute to occupational asthma.
Four Types Of Common Asthma Attacks In The Workplace
Aggravation Of Pre-Existing Asthma: This is by far the most common form. You may grow hypersensitivity to the stimulus over time, in case you have regular exposure to them. With this underlying asthma, continued exposure to the trigger leads to seizures.
Immunological Asthma is characterized by a delay in the onset of symptoms.
Non Immunological Asthma appears to occur after single or repeated exposure to irritant material.
Hybrid Forms can contain components of all the three mechanisms described above.
As soon as the attack is triggered, the airways swell and contract (bronchospasm) and excrete large amounts of mucus.
The swelling and additional mucus partially or completely block the airways. This makes it more difficult to push (exhale) air out of the lungs.
If this occurs for a period of time, the inflammation may result in an abnormal airflow or airflow restriction in the lungs even if there is no attack or triggering substances. When lung function stops normalizing after years of chronic inflammation, asthma develops into a new class of lung disease called a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is commonly known as COPD.(2)
- Brown NJ. Occupational Asthma or Work-Related Exacerbation of Asthma. 2019.
- Bernstein JA. Occupational asthma. Allergy and Asthma: Springer; 2016:253-270.
- Tarlo SM, Lemiere C. Occupational asthma. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;370(7):640-649.
- Quirce S, Sastre J. Occupational asthma: clinical phenotypes, biomarkers, and management. Current opinion in pulmonary medicine. 2019;25(1):59-63.
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