Other Causes of Asthma
According to the American Lung Association, genetics and exposure to environmental toxins strongly contribute to asthma development. Some of the most significant risk factors for asthma include:
- Family history. A parent with asthma makes you three to six times more likely to develop it.
- Many indoor and outdoor allergens can trigger asthma symptoms. The most common allergic conditions linked to asthma include pollen, mold, dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, and rodents. People with allergic conditions like eczema and hay fever also have a higher risk of developing asthma.
- Viral respiratory infections. Infants and children with respiratory illnesses that cause wheezing have a higher risk of chronic asthma.
- Environmental irritants. Exposure to industrial chemicals and vapors in the workplace, such as paint or harmful gases, can trigger asthma symptoms. Wood fires, charcoal grills, and dust particles in the air may also cause breathing problems.
- Air Pollution. Regular exposure to air pollution, such as smog and ozone, can trigger asthma symptoms or cause it to develop. People living in urban areas have the highest risk for asthma. Sadly, researchers have observed a disturbing increase in pediatric asthma due to traffic pollution. Their study found that nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant in vehicle exhaust and industrial sites, contributed to nearly two million pediatric asthma causes in 2019. Studies have also discovered a link between air pollution and reduced lung function in adults.
- Overweight or obese children and adults also have a greater asthma risk. Scientists believe that chronic inflammation in the body due to excess weight may lower lung capacity. Research shows that obese patients experience more severe symptoms and have more difficulty managing the condition than patients with a healthy weight.
- Certain weather conditions can exacerbate or bring about an asthma episode. Dry wind, cold air, or sudden changes in the weather usually have the strongest link to asthma. For instance, thunderstorms can trigger breathing issues because rain releases pollen particles, and wind spreads them around. People with asthma who inhale pollen may find it harder to breathe.
Tips on Managing Asthma Symptoms
- Take medications as prescribed. You might need long-term asthma control medications and a quick-relief inhaler to manage symptoms. If allergens make your asthma worse, take biologics (medicines made for people with severe asthma) or allergy shots.
- Get regular exercise. Physical activity can strengthen the heart and lungs, which will help reduce asthma symptoms. Also, maintain a healthy weight to ensure your airways don’t become obstructed.
- Avoid or limit exposure to your triggers. Use your air conditioner to lower humidity and reduce indoor pollen levels. Consider using a dehumidifier to prevent mold from forming, and clean your home regularly. Also, stay indoors on days with poor air quality or wear a face mask while outside to avoid inhaling environmental irritants.
Final Thoughts on Study Linking Secondhand Smoke to Generational Asthma
University of Melbourne researchers discovered that secondhand smoke could lead to generational asthma. They found that children’s risk increased by 59% if their father grew up with parents who smoked. Children had a 72% risk of developing breathing issues if their fathers were exposed to secondhand smoke and also became smokers. The research shows that abstaining from smoking lowers the chance of passing health problems to future generations.