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Why Do People Have Asthma?

by Eric Smith
  • Overview

    Asthma results from constricted or inflamed bronchial tubes in the lungs, tightened muscles of the bronchial walls and the blocking of lung airways by excess mucus. Asthma attacks can be controlled with lifestyle modifications and medications.
  • Risk Factors

    According to the Mayo Clinic, people may have a higher risk of developing asthma if they had a family history of asthma, were exposed to secondhand smoke or had frequent childhood respiratory ailments (See Reference 1). Occupational exposure to chemicals used in hairdressing, farming or manufacturing can cause an increased risk of asthma.
  • Causes

    Asthma attacks can be triggered by airborne allergens, cold air or air pollutants (See Reference 1). Exercise, respiratory infections and stress can also bring on an asthma attack.
  • Symptoms

    An asthma attack may include shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing (See Reference 1). Asthma sufferers may also have difficulty sleeping.
  • Prevention

    Asthma attacks can be prevented by avoiding environmental irritants that caused a prior asthma attack and by taking asthma medications as prescribed by a doctor (See Reference 1).
  • Lifestyle

    Air conditioning can keep asthma triggers out of a house (See Reference 1). Regular housecleaning can keep allergens from accumulating indoors.
  • Treatment

    Long-term medications such as inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators can help reduce airway inflammation and reduce the risk of an asthma attack (See Reference 1). Fast relief medications such as albuterol can temporarily relax airway muscles during an asthma attack.

    References & Resources