Connection Between Asthma, Respiratory Disease and Climatic Variables

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 10
Words: 2840
Reading time:
13 min
Study level: PhD

Problem definition

Climatic changes are known to have a significant impact on the symptoms of asthma patients. Asthma is one of the chronic diseases that have become a worldwide pandemic affecting a substantial number of the world’s population. Asthma is caused by two medical conditions in a human’s lungs, constriction, and inflammation (Abdelkarim, et al., 2011). Constriction refers to the tightening of the muscles that enfold the airways while inflammation on the other hand refers to the distension and irritation of the same (Abdelkarim, et al., 2011). These are the main causes of asthmatic symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and short breaths (Achudume & Oladipo, 2009).

Motivation and relevance to UAE

Asthma can cause loss of lung functions if left to triumph without treatment (Abdelkarim, et al., 2011). Climatic changes on the other hand include the shift in temperatures especially in the atmosphere, wind patterns and rainfall. Climatic changes are caused by a number of factors one of them is human actions. The temperature in the earth’s atmosphere with regard to the UAE is greatly influenced by the increase in the number of certain gases. The release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for example has been the major cause of the unforgiving global warming. The presence of other gases causes acidic rainfall in UAE. The atmospheric temperature has a direct impact on the cycle of rainfall and consequently destabilizes the ecosystem.

Climate change is a long-term transformation in the numerical circulation of climatic models over time that varies from decades to millions of years (Al Suwaidi, 2010). It may be an alteration in the standard weather situation or a change in the circulation of climatic events with respect to regular events. Climate change may be restricted to a precise area or may take place across the entire globe. The diagram below summarizes the impacts of heat in the world’s atmosphere (Anderson, et al., 2001).

the impacts of heat in the atmosphere
The above diagram shows the impacts of heat in the atmosphere (Anderson, et al., 2001).

An individual suffering from asthma is faced with breathing challenges. The airways that lead to the lungs are altered either by being swollen or tightened. In both situations, one is exposed to breathing difficulties since swelling makes the airways larger than normal, and tightening makes them smaller than normal. When the muscles are tightened, the accumulation of mucus in the airways makes it difficult for a patient to breathe. The diagram displays the images of a normal bronchus and an inflamed one (Bates, 1995).

the images of a normal bronchus and an inflamed one

Asthmatic symptoms can be influenced or accelerated by allergies, infections, and strong perfumes among other odours (Brunekreef & Forsberg, 2005). Doctors advise patients to take manage and be watchful of their situation because once an individual is exposed to a trigger and has a reaction, the airways become more responsive to other triggers (Brunekreef & Forsberg, 2005). This increases the level of vulnerability and chances of getting a reaction from a broad range of triggers are increased.


The objective of this research is to identify and outline the relationship between asthma and climatic or environmental variations. In order to identify the connection between the two, it is important to identify the factors that cause asthmas in relation to the environment. This will be clearly established in this research paper. We need also to create a connection between the environmental changes and the prevalence of the condition. This will include researching the implications of various climatic condition and their effects on the human respiratory system. This study can be shortened into the subsequent objectives,

  1. Classify the types of asthma
  2. Categorize the environmental repercussion and their outcome on the predominance of asthma
  3. How the ecological transformation is affecting or influencing asthma attacks

A table showing samples of the symptoms.

samples of the symptoms.

Literature review

In the research, we used adults of the ages 18-30 (Dockery, & Pope, 1994). To establish the symptoms of asthma, the above table was used to identify the similarities of symptoms among people suffering from asthma (Ko, et al., 2007). This will help evaluate the extent to which the environment influences the prevalence of asthmatic attacks. The patients will be asked to confirm whether they were feeling the symptoms listed and the data will be taken if only their answer is yes (Malig & Ostro, 2009). Then the lists will be checked to see how many people confirm they were experiencing the same symptoms.

Asthma has a record occurrence particularly with reference to the UAE (Host, et al., 2008). The number of Arabs that are asthmatic is estimated to be approximately 17 million with 5 million of them being children (Host, et al., 2008). Research has shown that every year the number of patients admitted and diagnosed with asthma per annum is approximately five hundred thousand (Husar, et al., 2001). This has made the disease to be named one of the top five extremely expensive diseases in the world today. Nonetheless, the good news about it is that it can be controlled and patients suffering from asthmatic problems can live a full life without limitations. Causes of asthma are quite varied and depend on a number of circumstances. While defining the categories of asthma, the trigger that causes the attacks to play a crucial role.

The categories of asthma include allergic asthma, seasonal asthma, non-allergic asthma, exercise-induced asthma, and nocturnal asthma (Kanatani, et al., 2010). Allergic asthma just like the name suggests is induced by allergic reactions to allergens. This type of asthma can be personal or hereditary with patience experiencing allergic reactions while exposed to certain pollens or pet dander among other things (Miri, et al., 2007). Seasonal asthma is activated by tree pollen, grass pollen, or any other pollen released at drifting intervals (Host, et al., 2008). This category of asthma is easy to tell without going through a skin test since the attacks increase during a particular season and are suppressed when the season is out. Non-allergic asthma is the category of asthma that is influenced by allergic attacks.

People with this type of asthma have the same symptoms and similar changes in their airways. Asthma attacks can therefore be influenced by a range of non-allergic factors commonly referred to as irritants. Irritants can include tobacco smoke, perfumes, chemicals in the workplace, cleaning products such as detergents and soaps, room deodorizers among others. This type of asthma is the most prone to environmental effects because changes in atmospheric temperatures and exposure to cold air are sure causative factors. The other grouping of asthma is exercise-induced asthma which is caused simply by physical activities such as exercises (Host, et al., 2008).

Lastly, all of these categories can be more prevalent during the night especially around 2-4 AM (Kwon, et al., 2002). When this is the case, then they can be referred to as nocturnal asthma. The severity of asthma is projected to increase because of climatic changes (Hefflin, et al., 1994). Lung doctors have had several meetings to discuss the effects of global warming on human health and they have come to a unanimous conclusion that asthma is more likely to be prevalent (Hess-Kosa, 2002). A study done to investigate how the prevalence of asthma compares in the cities in comparison to the rural areas proves the same.

In this research, the methods that are going to be used include a number of research techniques. The observation method will be one of the most prevalent in this study although other research methods like correlation research and quasi-experiments for comparison purposes (Chen, et al., 2004). Data of about 100,000 people were collected from the coast of northern Finland. The location was chosen based on its variation in weather conditions throughout the year (Choi, et al., (2011). This location has 2 major sources of air pollution which include a chemical factory that produces fertilizers as well as a water heating plant. The two companies are located in very close proximity to the city centre.


The population in the UAE towns is more likely to suffer asthma attacks compared to the population living in the rural areas (Lei, 2004). This is because in the rural area the air is not as polluted as the cities where factories and other agents of air pollution are found. The climatic conditions and their intervals relate to the prevalence of asthma around the globe. Carbon release and other substances in the atmosphere are very crucial and have led to the depletion in the atmospheric balance of gases. For instance, carbon emissions have significantly caused a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. An increase in carbon emissions has also led to the formation of acidic rainfall which has a direct influence on the growth of plants. The different chemical compositions released have changed the type of pollens due to mutation and the introduction of new crops. This pollen consequently has increased the severity of asthma by enhancing the attacks on patients.

The impact of dust storms is presenting the entire world with a scenario where disease-causing bacteria are blown from one corner of the globe to the other. This increases the mobility of viruses that are capable of attacking the human body. The rise in the frequency of sand storms formation can be attributed to various environmental changes. For a sand storm to thrive, there are environmental conditions that are necessary. Sand storms can thrive in semi-arid and arid areas. Desert conditions are the most ideal for a sand storm to take place. To avert the effects and impacts of a sand storm, it is prudent for the UAE authorities to initiate meteorological strategies that can help them in giving timely and accurate warnings.

Community safety should be a priority especially in the UAE which is a highly vulnerable region. Global environmental changes have influenced the formation of sand storms. Today with the high rate of carbon emissions, the ozone layer that absorbs heat from the earth has been significantly damaged. This has led to the looming global effects that have hit the entire earth. As a result, the heat has led to the drying up of some of the major water sources such as rivers, dams among other water bodies. In addition, global warming has reduced atmospheric water commonly referred to as humidity.

Lack of humid conditions leads to drought and consequently the death of animals and plants. Areas or regions of low humidity are deserted since they are inhabitable. This leads to the low plantation and the existence of a bare land enhances sand storm formations. Climatic change and its influence on asthma.

This research will use observation and correlation methods to show how climatic changes have been influenced by human activities as the diagram below shows (Meng, 2007). As demonstrated in the diagram in the diagram below, climatic changes are caused by the ground-level ozone layer. The ground-level ozone is a potential irritant to the human lung leading to breathing complications. Doctors warn that the exposure of human lungs to the ozone greatly reduces its functions causing asthma aggravation (Wang, et al., 1997). Between now and the year 2050, scientists approximate the exposure of the ozone in the US to increase by at least 5-10% (Peng, et al., 2008). These are changes that will be caused by climatic changes alone without considering other factors.

Seasonal allergies are already escalating due to atmospheric rises in the level of carbon dioxide. Plant-based allergens have increased because of atmospheric changes which are influenced by the increase in carbon dioxide concentration. The greater the impacts on the ground-level ozone, the more the world is prone to asthma and the worse its severity. The greatest effect of carbon dioxide blocking earth heat from escaping to space is crucial. This leads to global warming which greatly affects the world’s climatic conditions. Some regions today are experiencing more heat than they did decades ago. The rise in temperatures breeds a change in the crop growing in the environment.

While other areas are experiencing long days of high temperatures, other regions are experiencing continued flooding and heavy rainfall. Both extremes enhance the breed of certain crops which release pollen that may trigger or increase the prevalence of allergic asthma. Therefore, it is clear that asthma is perfectly influenced by the changes experienced in the meteorological world. Pollen allergy is regularly used to learn the interrelationship linking air contamination, rhinitis, and bronchial asthma (Wang, et al., 1997). Epidemiological studies have confirmed that urbanization, elevated levels of motor vehicle emissions, and civilized standard of living are concurrent to an increase in the occurrence of pollen-induced respiratory allergy, widespread in individuals who reside in urban areas compared with persons who reside in countryside areas.

Gantt chart

Meteorological features such as temperature, wind speed, humidity, among others alongside other climatological conditions like warm or cold irregularities and dry or wet times, can influence both biological and chemical components of this interaction (Ahdoot, 2013). In addition, by inducing airway inflammation, air pollution triumphs over the mucosal obstacle priming allergen-induced responses (Wang, et al., 1997).

10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change

The above diagram shows that human activity leads to billions of tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions every year. This has been greatly influenced by the global dependence on fossil fuels which emit the highest percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The resulting effects include the occurrence of nights warming faster than days because of more heat coming back to the earth (Quing, 2007).

The existence of more fossil fuel carbon emissions reduces the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. The carbon cloud creates a blanket-like layer that inhibits atmospheric heat from escaping to space hence the increase in global warming (Quing, 2007). The global heat has led to the melting of glaciers and sea ice which ultimately has increased the amount of water in the sea and as a result, there are rising cases of floods and tsunamis. Deforestation is also a human activity that has a great potential to harm our ecosystem (Quing, 2007). Trees and other plants play an important role in balancing environmental conditions that make it possible to have a sustainable livelihood on planet earth.

Nonetheless, the continued shift from agricultural to industrial economies of the world is proving to be a major threat to the environment. People are destroying forests to put up real estate and factories without considering the ramifications, therefore. The accumulative destruction of forests leads to microclimatic changes and ultimately a macroclimatic shift will be inevitable (Quing, 2007). These changes are critically affecting the human respiratory system leading to the development and enhancement of respiratory diseases such as asthma. Asthmatic attacks are greatly influenced by changes in climatic conditions and their prevalence is based on the same. The relationship between the asthma symptoms and meteorological symptoms links the two as correlated factors where one is influenced by the other. The climatic condition has a direct influence on the prevalence of asthma (Quing, 2007).


This research work has gone out of the norm to present the necessary evidence that shows clearly the incident that attaches global climate change to asthma prevalence. As discussed in the paper, the prevalence of asthma all over the globe alone is proof that the cause must be universal. Other biological factors and lifestyles may not be uniformly distributed around the globe but one thing is common in a global watch, environmental pollution (Quing, 2007). Global warming and other air pollutions have been singled out to be the main causes of the prevalence of asthma. This research paper has shown even by the use of diagrams the different ways in which the spread of asthma is related to environmental variations. First, the paper discusses how asthma as a disease affects the human lungs.

This includes a detailed outline describing the different types and categories of asthma (Peng, et al., 2008). Then the causes of asthma are clearly pointed out and their impacts on the breathing systems (Peng, et al., 2008). After establishing how asthma occurs and outlining its causes, then the paper discusses the environment and several agents of pollution that are destroying the entire global climatic balance. The paper shows how climatic conditions induce the severity of asthma. This occurs through pollution and emissions of certain gases into the atmosphere as discussed in the paper. The paper also gives an account of the global prevalence of the disease as well as the prevalence rate especially in the United States of America. Air pollution and global warming have been named as the major causative f the increased severity of asthmatic attacks.


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