Asthma Causes

Asthma Causes

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    If you get a cold, the flu, or some other respiratory illness, you might notice that it's harder to breathe. But is that because of the respiratory illness or because of asthma? The truth is, it could be a little of both if you have a history or asthma. A cold, flu, or sinus infection can cause inflammation and sinus secretions that interfere with your breathing. But the respiratory illness itself also might hamper breathing by triggering—or exacerbating—an asthma attack. If you have asthma, call your doctor at the first sign of a respiratory infection.

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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    A trigger is anything -- a condition, a substance, an activity -- that causes inflammation in your sensitive airways. A trigger makes your asthma worse or keeps it from getting better.
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    There are certain groups of people at higher risk for asthma than others. The prevalence of asthma is higher among children than adults and higher among African Americans and Hispanics than Caucasians. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, African Americans are three times as likely as Caucasians to be hospitalized from asthma and three times as likely to die from the disease. Racial differences in asthma prevalence and mortality are believed to be highly related to poverty, urban air quality, indoor allergens, lack of patient education and inadequate medical care.

    Women are more likely to die from asthma than are men. Studies have shown that asthma may be related to women's hormonal changes and could be triggered before or during the menstrual period. Some women first develop asthma during or after a pregnancy, but asthma symptoms may also subside during pregnancy or not be affected at all.
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    We don’t know for sure what causes asthma, but we do know that attacks are sometimes triggered by:
    • Allergens (like pollen, mold, animal dander, and dust mites)
    • Exercise
    • Occupational hazards
    • Tobacco smoke
    • Air pollution
    • Airway infections
    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    Many infants and toddlers experience occasional episodes of wheezing caused by respiratory tract infections, but that doesn’t mean they suffer from asthma, a chronic disorder that causes swelling and inflammation of the airways.

    Risk factors, including a family history of parental or sibling asthma, eczema and food allergies, can increase a child’s risk to develop asthma. About 60% of children with asthma will outgrow it by adulthood. However, only 5%-30% of children with severe asthma will outgrow their asthma by adulthood.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Asthma from food allergy is relatively uncommon. Asthmatics are more likely than non-asthmatics to experience severe allergic reactions to foods, and asthmatics have a higher risk of death if they experience food anaphylaxis.
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    Feel a little wheezy when the weather turns? Well there might be something to that. Thunderstorms have often been associated with asthma epidemics. The most common hypothesis as to why thunderstorms might be an asthma trigger in some people has to do with the weather conditions that lead to a storm, which may cause higher concentrations of allergens in the air, like pollen. And pollen may be "ruptured" in storm clouds that eventually reach ground level, where it's breathed in and triggers acute reactions in people with allergic asthma.

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    Pollen grains are microscopic particles produced by most plants and transported to other plants of the same species for reproduction. They are the plant equivalent of sperm. Only plants with pollen that is light and not sticky, and can therefore be spread by the wind, are common causes of asthma. Unfortunately this includes many species of trees, grasses, and weeds. In order to successfully transmit their pollen to other members of their species, trees, grasses, and weeds produce enormous amounts of pollen that can be blown upwards of fifty miles and can be detected as high in the air as the Empire State Building. It is these windborne pollens that are reported daily as pollen counts and cause major problems for allergic asthmatics.

    Most plants with colorful, perfumed flowers produce heavy, sticky pollen grains that cling to the legs of bees and other insects and generally do not cause major asthma problems. With some flowering plants, their pollen is no threat but they may be allergenic when eaten.
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    Do you find it impossible to take a long, deep breath when the air turns cold? Frigid air can be rough on just about anyone's lungs, but it's extra tough on people who have asthma, because asthmatic lungs are primed for irritation. You may need to take extra precautions before going out in the cold, like wearing a scarf around your mouth and nose. Same goes for exercising in cold weather.

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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    Some medications, especially those that contain aspirin, may cause asthma symptoms. Medications called beta blockers, which are used to treat a variety of conditions, can also make asthma worse.