Asthma is a multifactorial disease that is not well understood and can have a variety of risk factors. In the United States it affects over 22 million people, results in 4000 deaths annually (1) and is responsible for 200,000 hospitalizations annually (2). Of additional concern is the observation that the number of asthma cases has doubled in the United States since 1980 (3). Considering the fact that standard asthma treatment protocols only address symptom reduction and do not resolve the condition, prevention is the most viable treatment option.
It is important to note the conclusions made by Saglani and Bush review of the origins of asthma. It was stated that "the roots of asthma are to be found in the first three years of life…By age 3, the die is cast and lung function tracks lifelong" (4).
(1) Balkissoon R. Asthma overview. Prim Care 2008 Mar;35(1):41-60, vi.; (2) Michael MA. Scope and impact of pediatric asthma. Nurse Pract 2002 Jun;Suppl:3-6.; (3) Redd SC. Asthma in the United States: burden and current theories. Environ Health Perspect 2002 Aug;110 Suppl 4:557-60.; (4) Saglani S, Bush A. The early-life origins of asthma. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2007 Feb;7(1):83-90.