Asthma Linked to Stress in the Home and Parental Depression

home stress and asthmaResearchers from the Rush University Medical Center have found that stress in the home and depression among parents increase the risk of asthma and asthmatic attacks among children.

The researchers – part of the Project CURA: The Community United to Challenge Asthma – investigated and studied the homes of Puerto Rican children between the ages of 5 and 18 years old with asthma within the city of Chicago. The research was funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Curiously, Puerto Rican children have a far greater risk of asthma than do white, black or hispanic children. An asthma study published in the Journal Pediatrics in 2006 found that 26% of Puerto Rican children had been diagnosed with asthma between 1997 and 2001 while only 12% of white children, 16% of black children, 12% of hispanic children had been diagnosed with asthma during the same period. This means that Puerto Rican children have more than double the asthma rates of most other children.

This of course has led researchers to try to discover why Puerto Rican children have such higher rates.

The researchers analyzed asthmatic children in six communities in Chicago. They recruited children and parents from schools and hospitals. Of the 229 children who were screened, 101 were randomized, with 51 being of elementary school age and 50 kids in high school.

The researchers assessed children with skin testing for allergy triggers and conducted saliva testing, while studying their trigger mechanisms using home studies.

The research found out that outside the factors related to medication use or allergic irritants in the home or school, more asthma diagnoses and more asthmatic attacks were attributed to caregiver (parent or otherwise) depression; parents or caregivers who were noticeably stressed (perceivable by the child); and among children and parents without private insurance.

The fact that these conditions were found to significantly affect the rate of asthma attacks and the level of diagnosis indicates clearly the influence a child’s home environment has upon the child’s respiratory health.

Learn more about the causes for asthma and the many natural solutions traditional medicines of the world have utilized.

And this research also provides more clarity on the difference between asthma rates among hispanic, white and black children and those among Puerto Rican children – particularly inter-city Puerto Rican children. In these homes, there appears to be increased levels of stress and depression. The causes of of this stress – the stressors – were not assessed in this study.

The fact that stress in the home is a critical health factor among children has been established in many other studies over the past few decades. Research from Vanderbilt University has found that coping with ongoing stress can contribute to chronic illnesses. The researchers analyzed different coping mechanisms, including active coping – which attempts to deal directly with the cause of the stress; accommodative coping – which attempts to adapt to the cause of the stress; and passive coping – wherein the child attempts to avoid or even deny the cause of the stress.

The research found that increased stressors along with poor coping mechanisms – particularly passive coping – can not only increase chronic illness incidence and reduce immunity, but they can result in adjustment issues for the child later in life.

Written by Case Adams, Naturopath

REFERENCES:

Martin MA, Thomas AM, Mosnaim G, Greve M, Swider SM, Rothschild SK. Home Asthma Triggers: Barriers to Asthma Control in Chicago Puerto Rican Children. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2013;24(2):813-827.

Fitzpatrick AM, Baena-Cagnani CE, Bacharier LB. Severe asthma in childhood: recent advances in phenotyping and pathogenesis. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Apr;12(2):193-201.

Compas BE, Jaser SS, Dunn MJ, Rodriguez EM. Coping with chronic illness in childhood and adolescence. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2012;8:455-80.

Thabrew H, de Sylva S, Romans SE. Evaluating childhood adversity. Adv Psychosom Med. 2012;32:35-57.

O’Malley D, Quigley EM, Dinan TG, Cryan JF. Do interactions between stress and immune responses lead to symptom exacerbations in irritable bowel syndrome? Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Oct;25(7):1333-41.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”

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