This week, we released a new 23andMe+ report on asthma powered by 23andMe research.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that occurs when the immune system overreacts to an environmental trigger, causing inflammation, increased mucus production inside the airways, and tightened muscles around the airways.
While it’s more common for asthma to be diagnosed during childhood, it can develop at any time.
It is estimated that around 12 percent of people in the U.S. have asthma. Besides genetics, other non-genetic factors like ethnicity, long-term irritant exposure, and age can increase a person’s chances of developing the condition.
In 2020, an international team of scientists uncovered new genetic associations for several allergic conditions – specifically allergies, asthma, and eczema – by studying the age of onset.
The researchers used data from the UK Biobank to identify 76 genetic variants associated with these allergic conditions in or near 18 different genes. They found that about 50 of these variants were associated with a higher risk of both developing allergic conditions in the first place and developing them at an early age.
A New Report
Our new Asthma report is powered by data from people who have consented to participate in 23andMe research. It uses machine learning techniques to estimate an individual’s likelihood of developing asthma.
This estimate is made using a statistical model that includes 24,244 genetic markers and information on an individual’s ethnicity and birth sex. See our white paper to learn more about the science behind the report.
People with asthma may experience shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, or wheezing. Each of these symptoms can range in severity.
Symptoms often come and go, and specific triggers can cause them to worsen or flare up suddenly in episodes called asthma attacks.
Asthma triggers vary from person to person. However, some of the most common triggers include allergies, air pollution, tobacco smoke, respiratory infections, and cold air.
Simple strategies like identifying and avoiding triggers and recognizing the warning signs of an impending asthma attack can help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms.
Staying up to date on vaccines and avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke can also be helpful.
People with asthma triggered by allergies can minimize allergen exposure by using HEPA air filters and vacuum cleaners. And people who are allergic to dust mites can use impermeable pillow and mattress covers to reduce exposure.
In addition, medications like quick-relief inhalers, and long-term asthma control medications can help manage symptoms.
23andMe’s new Asthma report (powered by 23andMe Research) is available to 23andMe+ members. To view your report, go here.
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