First and foremost, you should know what asthma actually is. Asthma affects the airways, which are the tubes that carry air to and from your lungs. When someone has asthma, these tubes become inflamed and swollen, making it difficult to breathe properly. Unfortunately, several different factors can Causes of Asthma. For this reason, there’s no specific cure that works for everyone who has the condition. Rather, doctors will have to find out the exact underlying Causes of Asthma so they can prescribe you a treatment plan that works best for you based on your condition and symptoms.
Many people think of asthma as an allergy to certain substances such as pollen or dust mites, but it’s much more complicated than that. It’s actually one of the most common chronic conditions in children, though it also affects adults. Asthma comes in two forms, allergic and non-allergic, which means the symptoms can differ greatly depending on the cause of your asthma. Whether you’re dealing with this condition yourself or supporting someone else who does, learning about the 10 surprising causes of asthma might help you manage your symptoms better and keep them from getting worse over time.
1. Air Pollution- Causes of Asthma
Air pollution—from chemicals, pollen, mold, and more—is the main cause of asthma symptoms. Keeping your home clean (and vacuumed regularly) is one way to avoid these pollutants. Taking walks on unpolluted days can also help keep air quality high in your area. When possible, limit your time outside during allergy season and take extra care to avoid triggers like dust mites and pet dander.
Air pollution, especially for people living in cities with high air pollution rates. Major pollutants include auto emissions, smoke and ash from coal-burning plants, and ground-level ozone, which is formed by sunlight reacting with automotive exhaust. Children and young adults are particularly susceptible to air pollution’s effects on their respiratory systems—and it only takes a little exposure overtime to develop asthma from it.
What’s in your yard and home that could be causing asthma symptoms? In one recent study, pesticides in dust and house mites were shown to trigger asthma attacks. Since pesticides are used to kill off bugs and weeds, it makes sense that they can have a bad effect on our lungs—after all, we breathe through them!
Although many people think they’re a vital part of any effective pest-control strategy, pesticides can cause serious problems for asthma sufferers. According to the
and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 10 million Americans suffer from asthma and one in 12 has had an asthma attack in the past year. Although allergic reactions and irritants that cause airway constriction have been known to trigger an asthmatic episode, allergens aren’t always so obvious—and pesticides are a prime example.
3. Mold and Mildew
It’s no secret that mold and mildew can cause asthma flare-ups, but did you know that it’s a leading cause of airway issues for both children and adults? When molds are found in your home or workplace, don’t just try to clean them off—that could make things worse. Instead, call an expert. They’ll be able to help you eradicate all traces of mold from your environment.
Although people with asthma can have an allergic reaction to mold and mildew, exposure isn’t typically a cause of asthma. However, studies have shown that exposure is more likely in homes where people with asthma live. This is because those homes tend to have higher amounts of indoor allergens—like dust mites and pet dander—which are thought to worsen symptoms. Even so, experts say it doesn’t seem like regular exposures trigger asthma attacks or lead to long-term changes in lung function
4. Cats, Dogs, Other Pets- Causes of Asthma
It’s not just a myth that cats, dogs, and other pets are Causes of Asthma attacks. Allergens in pets, such as dander, saliva, and feces, can set off allergic reactions. But there’s no need to have your cat or dog put down—instead seek out specialist care from an allergist.
You don’t need to spend much time around a cat or dog owner to know that these furry friends can cause asthma in those who are particularly allergic. Not only does hair-trigger an allergic reaction, but pet dander (bits of fur and skin) and saliva do as well. The former can find its way into your lungs when you inhale, causing swelling, while other particles cause an allergic reaction upon contact with your skin.
5. Lack of Exercise
A lack of exercise is often one of the main causes of asthma attacks. If you or your child has asthma, take it as an excuse to get in shape and develop healthy habits. Regular exercise can help improve your lung function and lessen symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath during an attack.
Obesity, which can be caused by overeating or being sedentary, is a significant cause of asthma. People who have high BMIs have larger airways that are prone to clogging and are more susceptible to allergy triggers. Being overweight also puts you at risk for other health problems, such as sleep apnea, which further worsens asthma symptoms.
6. Allergies and Sensitivities- Causes of Asthma
Allergies and sensitivities can be Causes of Asthma, too. Pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, air pollution, and certain foods (such as peanuts or shellfish) can trigger an asthma attack by causing inflammation in your respiratory system. When you breathe in allergens, your body releases histamines to fight back. It’s possible to build up a tolerance to these histamines over time; those who are less sensitive may be able to deal with minor irritants without feeling any symptoms.
Once you’ve experienced a runny nose, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes from seasonal allergies, it can be easy to conclude that allergies cause asthma. While it is true that allergic reactions can sometimes trigger an asthma attack, pollen and dust don’t actually cause asthma—they may aggravate symptoms in someone who already has it.
A number of prescription medications can be Causes of Asthma, including certain steroids and antibiotics. A study published in 2007 in BMC Research Notes found that 17 percent of asthmatics reported developing a cough after taking antibiotics. Similarly, a study conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that 11 percent of patients who took inhaled steroids to treat asthma developed coughing or wheezing when they first started taking them. It’s important to be aware of potential medication side effects, particularly when your doctor gives you a new prescription.
If you’re taking prescription medications, talk to your doctor about whether your medication could be causing your asthma symptoms. Be sure to tell him or her if you’ve experienced any new physical reactions since starting a new medication. If one of your prescriptions is causing asthma attacks, ask if there are other drugs that could treat whatever condition is causing them without making you sick. Before discontinuing a prescription, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first.
7. Hormones and Gender
Are hormones an underlying cause of asthma? This might sound far-fetched but consider: Girls and women who have gone through puberty are three times more likely to have asthma than boys and men. And pregnant women with asthma are at a higher risk for an attack than non-pregnant women with asthma. Women often experience worse symptoms when they’re menstruating or on birth control pills.
The difference between males and females is key to understanding asthma. Because males generally have more testosterone, they are able to withstand allergic triggers better than females, who have less testosterone. Women are also exposed to hormones before, during, and after pregnancy that can cause asthma in women who did not previously have a problem with breathing. Some studies indicate that menopause can also trigger asthma in women. Environmental exposure: Living close to busy roads where fumes from cars and trucks regularly find their way into your lungs is a common trigger for asthma
Allergies and asthma are common Causes of Asthma in children. When your child has an asthma attack, it can cause them to stop breathing for short periods of time. Children usually get over these attacks quickly, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t alarming. An asthma attack can be triggered by something as simple as a cold or allergies (both major causes of asthma). However, some people can be born with it.
Children who live in homes with smokers are more likely to develop asthma. Research shows that exposure to secondhand smoke can cause inflammation and damage to respiratory tissue. It’s been speculated that genes may also play a role in causing asthma, and since children with one parent who smokes have an increased risk for developing asthma, genetics may also be a factor. Lastly, pregnant women who smoke increase their baby’s risk of developing asthma.
Everyone knows that too much stress can cause asthma attacks, but that’s not where it ends. Your body reacts to stress in many ways; one is to stimulate immune responses and ramp up inflammatory markers throughout your body. As a result, some people are more prone to asthma than others. If you have asthma, managing your stress levels can be instrumental in preventing future attacks.
Studies have shown that stress can cause asthma symptoms and attacks by causing a sudden increase in hormone levels. While high levels of stress don’t cause asthma, they do make it worse. If you think stress might be contributing to your asthma symptoms, make sure you take time to relax—even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day. Studies have shown that simply meditating or getting lost in a good book can reduce stress and its negative effects on breathing.