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Causes of Asthma and Asthma Triggers

Asthma is a chronic long term illness which a person of any age can develop. It is characterised by coughing, wheezing and tightness of chest and the severity of symptoms can range from person to person. Some people may have severe symptoms whilst others may only have a slight wheeze. Even though asthma can't be cured, it can for most people be relatively well controlled.

Asthma Cause Theories 

There are a number of theories in the medical world about what causes asthma, but the prevailing causes are thought to be mainly 2 factors which include environmental and genetic factors, asthma is also found to be more common in women than it is in men.

Asthma Attack  

An asthma attack is triggered when someone is brought into contact with a "trigger" that irritates their airways, the muscles surrounding the airways start to swell and tighten up thus causing them to constrict and make breathing difficult. If the cause is due to infection there can also be mucus and or phlegm present. An asthma attack if severe enough may require the person to be admitted to hospital, luckily however most people can control their asthma attacks via preventative measures or medication they keep with them at all times in case of attacks. Unfortunately a person who suffers from long term severe asthma may find they have permanently narrowed airways which makes breathing a chronic problem for them.

  • Asthma & Children 

There have been studies conducted within recent years which have shown a rise in the prevalence of asthma (especially in children) since the 1970's and it has been suggested this can be attributed to the rise in the use of irritants such as pesticides and household cleaners. Therefore it's thought that if a person is genetically predisposed to asthma, then the modern world contains a host of triggers which can make asthma attacks much worse and despite modern medical control of asthma there were 250,000 deaths from this illness worldwide in 2009/10.

If children are diagnosed with asthma there is a possibility that the symptoms will disappear as they grow older unfortunately though there is a very high possibility that they will return later on in life especially if their symptoms were relatively severe as children. The medical world doesn't really know what causes asthma but what they are sure of is the fact that it does tend to run in families, in other words if one of your parents has asthma then the chances of you or your siblings developing it are higher than if they didn't.

  • Asthma Triggers 

Anything that is found to irritate the airways in an Asthmatic is known as a "trigger". Triggers differ from person to person and whilst there are a number of triggers asthmatics share, most have their own personal triggers which may set off an asthma attack in themselves but not necessarily in another person suffering from asthma. If you're an asthmatic the secret is to find your own triggers and avoid them as much as possible.

Common triggers tend to include:

* Pollen, especially in the spring and summer when its most plentiful
* Cigarette smoke, smoking should especially be avoided if you're an asthmatic, fumes from chemicals etc can also act as a trigger.
* Extreme cold air
* Chest ailments and infections
* Animal fur including cats and dogs etc.
* Extreme exercise
* Emotion, laughing and crying can be a trigger for some people.

With asthmatics as with anything else, prevention is much better than cure, if you are an asthmatic then ensuring your condition is controlled and treated should be your highest priority as if left unattended your condition may worsen over time. For most people asthma can be controlled and only a little thought and common sense is needed to ensure your quality of life is not compromised.





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