Asthma is a phenotypically heterogeneous disorder of multifactorial origins that affects 300 million people suffering from asthma and more than 250,000 asthma-related deaths each year. Although treatment for asthma has improved, its prevalence continues to increase, particularly in low and middle income countries, or in some ethnic groups in which prevalence was previously low. Observed spatio-temporal variations in the increased prevalence of asthma depend on exposure to environmental factors. Recently, several arguments are also in favor of the involvement of host susceptibility and stress in the observed increase of asthma prevalence. Further investigations are warranted to better understand mechanisms underlying asthma increase or stagnation.
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