Asthma: Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Asthma is a long-term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. The problem in the bronchial tubes that carry air into your lungs can make it hard for you to breathe. These airways get so narrow that air can not move freely causing

Updated: November 17, 2017

Asthma is a long-term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. The problem in the bronchial tubes that carry air into your lungs can make it hard for you to breathe. These airways get so narrow that air can not move freely causing serious wheezing and breathlessness, known as asthma attacks. There is no cure, but most people can control their symptoms.
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), or exercise-induced asthma (EIA) can be developed in healthy people when exercising. Your physician can develop a management plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during and after physical activity.
People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. Many people with asthma also have allergies which is called allergic asthma.
By inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while on the job can induce occupational asthma. The majority of children can develop childhood asthma before the age of five.

Causes of Asthma:

Asthma is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic interactions. Onset before age 12 is more likely due to genetic influence, while onset after 12 is more likely due to environmental influence.
Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

  • Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
  • Cold air
  • Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • Physical activity
  • Airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
  • Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
  • Strong emotions and stress

Symptoms of Asthma:

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. The most common symptom is wheezing. This is a scratchy or whistling sound when you breathe. Other symptoms include:

  •    Shortness of breath
  •    Chest tightness or pain
  •    Chronic coughing
  •    Trouble sleeping due to coughing or wheezing

Children with asthma may show the same symptoms as adults with asthma. Symptoms in children include:

  • Coughing that is constant or that is made worse by viral infections, happens while your child is asleep, or is triggered by exercise and cold air
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing, which may be associated with exercise
  • Wheezing or whistling sound when your child exhales
  • Fatigue
  • Chest tightness
  • Problems sleeping due to coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Problems feeding or grunting during feeding (infants)

Patterns in asthma symptoms can help make a diagnosis of the type. It is important to pay attention when symptoms occur. These can occur

  •    At night or early morning
  •    During or after exercise
  •    During certain seasons
  •    After laughing or crying
  •    When exposed to common asthma triggers

Risk Factors of Asthma:

A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. These include:

  • Having a blood relative such as a parent or sibling with asthma
  • Having another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing
  • Being overweight
  • Being a smoker



Related Articles

Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids that do not cause a problem for the woman can be left untreated. But in some cases, even fibroids that are not causing symptoms require removal or at least close observation. Since cancerous form of fibroid known as a leiom

Food for Gastritis: What to Eat and What not to Eat

Food for Gastritis: What to Eat and What not to Eat

Gastritis is an inflammation or swelling of the stomach lining. It can be a painful condition that is often caused by infection, drugs, stress or an autoimmune response.

Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar: Symptoms and Causes

Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar: Symptoms and Causes

Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when the sugar levels in your blood are too low. It occurs when the level of glucose present in the blood falls below a set point which is 4 mmol/L or 70mg/dL.

Diagnosis of Cardiovascular Disease

Diagnosis of Cardiovascular Disease

Diagnosis of CVD is based on your medical and family histories, your risk factors, a physical examination and a number of tests and procedures.

10 Home Remedies For Bad Breath

10 Home Remedies For Bad Breath

There are many symptoms associated with bad breath. If it's not treated properly, it might be worse. If it's due to bacteria and infection then it can be easily treated at home using natural remedies.

Tests and Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Tests and Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

To look for cancerous cells and to rule out other conditions a number of test can be done if lung cancer is suspected in a person.

Anti-insulin antibody test:Purpose, Procedure, Results, Reference values and Limitations

Anti-insulin antibody test:Purpose, Procedure, Results, Reference values and Limitations

The anti-insulin antibody test is done to checks if your body has produced antibodies against insulin.

Home Remedies For Gout

Home Remedies For Gout

Although there is no permanent cure for gout, there are several home remedies that offer relief from the intense pain