Causes of asthma: Your guide to asthma risk factors and triggers
Asthma is a condition that causes your airways to swell and produce extra mucus making it difficult to breathe according to Jason Casselman D.O. with Reid Allergy. Symptoms of asthma include coughing wheezing and chest tightness. Asthma can affect anyone — children and adults — so it’s important to understand the causes of asthma and its symptoms.
Who’s at risk of developing asthma?
While it can develop at any age most people with asthma begin to experience symptoms as children. According to the National Institutes of Health children who frequently wheeze and have airway infections are at the greatest risk of developing asthma after age six. In children girls are less likely to have asthma but as adults women are more likely than men. Adult-onset asthma is when people develop asthma symptoms when older.
Doctors and researchers are still working to understand and identify the causes of asthma in adults and children. The American Lung Association listed the following risk factors for developing asthma:
- Family history: Having a parent with asthma increases the likelihood that you’ll have it.
- Obesity: Overweight children and adults are at greater risk and have a more challenging time managing symptoms.
- Respiratory infections: Childhood viral airway infections increase risks.
- Environmental causes: Dust chemical fumes air pollution and mold can all cause asthma.
- Allergies: Eczema or hay fever play a role.
- Smoking: Both firsthand and secondhand smoke make it more likely.
What are the causes of asthma?
There are many asthma causes which are commonly called “triggers.” It can be challenging to identify the triggers that make your asthma worse. That’s because the same triggers that affect one person with asthma may not affect another the Mayo Clinic cautioned. Some asthma triggers seem obvious like smoke or pollen while others like experiencing strong emotions or cold air can be hard to pin down.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of asthma your doctor can identify what’s causing them. You may find it helpful to note details about when you experience asthma symptoms like the weather conditions time of day and any environmental factors in an asthma journal. If you’re concerned that your child has asthma tracking the symptoms in this way helps you and your pediatrician develop a management plan.
When should I see a doctor about my asthma symptoms?
Asthma can be severe even fatal if left untreated warned MedlinePlus. Fortunately most people with asthma manage it effectively and lead full lives. If you’re experiencing asthma symptoms tell a physician. An allergy and immunology specialist is a qualified doctor who helps you manage asthma. Likewise if you think your child may have asthma speak with your pediatrician.
If you or your child are struggling to breathe call 911.
While asthma is a long-term disease an asthma management plan can help you overcome your symptoms and live a healthy life. Take an active role in your or your child’s asthma by working with your doctor to create an asthma care plan today.
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