Causes Of Asthma You Must Be Aware Of
Asthma is a condition in which your airways swell and produce extra mucus. While the causes can vary from person to person, here are some common causes of asthma you must be aware of.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways having various causes, affecting people of all ages and characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness, coughing and wheezing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 235 million people worldwide suffer from asthma and this number continues to rise every year, making it a major public health concern.
While the causes vary from person to person, these are some of the causes of asthma you must be aware of:
1. Environmental Factors
With thirteen of the world's most polluted cities in India, it’s no surprise that about 15 million Indians are suffering from breathing conditions like Asthma. Despite the routine monitoring of air quality, the air in cities like Delhi, Patna, Gwalior, and Raipur have the highest amounts of tiny suspended particles. These particles penetrate deep into the airways and lungs to cause asthma and other respiratory diseases.
This is even a bigger concern in the rural areas where it is common to find women and children inhale smoke from biomass and kerosene stoves that burn wood, dung and crop residues.
Genetics can play a major role in causing asthma. Although asthma is genetic and usually runs in the family, it can skip one generation. Usually, three-fifths of all asthma cases are hereditary, so if even one or both of your parents have asthma, the odds that you will have it are high as well. According to a CDC report, if a person has a parent with asthma, he or she is three to six times more likely to develop asthma than someone who does not have a parent with asthma.
Prenatal risk factors such as maternal smoking, stress, diet and malnutrition during pregnancy can also affect the early development of asthma.
3. Allergens Induced Asthma
Allergens are substances often a protein, that are capable of triggering a response in the immune system, resulting in an allergic reaction. Outdoor allergens like pollens from grass, trees and weeds and indoor allergens like dust mites, animal dander and moulds trigger an allergic reaction and obstruct breathing. The allergens trigger an inflammatory response in the airways when they come in contact with the airways, inducing symptoms like cough, wheezing and breathlessness.
Other triggers include food colour and additives which can affect breathing, obesity, inhaling second-hand smoke, poorly ventilated homes, workplaces and stress.
4. Pregnancy and Asthma
Maternal smoking during and after the pregnancy can cause lung function impairment in infants. Premature babies who need a ventilator for breathing support are also at risk of developing asthma when they grow old.
5. Exercise-Induced Asthma
Regular exercise has immense benefits for your body in general but strenuous exercise can trigger asthma for some. Generally, the more severe asthma, the more susceptible you are to developing symptoms after exercise and vice versa. People who have exercise-induced asthma usually experience tightness in the chest, coughing and difficulty in breathing within the first 5 to 15 minutes of an aerobic workout. This happens mainly because exercise causes a narrowing of the airways.
Although exercise can induce breathlessness, these symptoms usually subside in the next 30 to 60 minutes of exercise and do not have a lingering effect on your bronchial tubes, unlike allergen-induced asthma.
Asthma can surely be kept in check such that it does not hamper your day-to-day life. The key is to identify how your body responds to various triggers so you can be prepared to fight them.