Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways that are connected to your lungs. There are certain asthma risk factors that cause asthma. People who suffer from the same are known as asthmatics.
The inside lining of the airways of such people is inflamed or swollen, which makes it extremely sensitive to irritations. When the airways become narrow, it becomes difficult for air to pass through them resulting in chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and breathing problems. Asthma is an incurable condition. However, with proper precautions and treatments, it can be brought under control and asthmatics can lead a normal life.
Asthma causes and risk factors:
There are several asthma risk factors that are thought to increase the chances of developing asthma. Some of them are listed below:
- Family history – If one or both the parents have asthma, the children have a greater risk of contracting it. In fact, studies show that almost three-fifths of all cases are hereditary.
- Age and sex – The condition is more common in children than in adults. Boys are more affected by asthma than girls. It is not clear why this happens, but some experts opine that a boy’s airways are smaller in size than a girl’s, which may lead to increased wheezing after a respiratory infection. By 20 years of age, both men and women have the same risk, but after 40 years, women are more prone to developing the condition.
- Allergens – Asthma and allergies are often related. Many asthma patients are sensitive to certain substances such as toxic chemicals, mold, dust mites, and pet dander. The presence of asthma risk factors as these can trigger asthma attacks.
- Smoking – Smokers are at a high risk of developing asthma. The children whose mothers smoked at the time of pregnancy or who faced second-hand smoke were likely to develop asthma.
- Pollution – Urbanization has often been associated with an increase in asthma and is one of the most common asthma risk factors. Those who live in urban areas are more exposed to smog that raises their chances of contracting the condition.
- Overweight – Individuals who suffer from obesity have a higher risk of asthma. The reason could be low-grade inflammation in the body due to excess weight.
- Respiratory problems – This is one of the asthma risk factors in children. Kids who suffer from respiratory infections can suffer from asthma.
- Food items comprising sulfites – sulfites are naturally present in some food items and drinks including several processed and pre-cooked meals. It is not one of the very common asthma risk factors, but many suffer due to it too.
Some other triggers include extreme emotions such as anger or fear, cold air, and physical exertion. Some medications can also trigger asthma such as aspirin, medicines used to treat heart ailments, headaches, and high blood pressure, and some anti-inflammatory drugs.
Asthma symptoms occur more at night or in the early hours of the morning or the presence of asthma risk factors. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. Sometimes if the symptoms are mild, they go away on their own or after some minimal treatment. However, in some cases, the symptoms can worsen. When symptoms increase, it is known as asthma attacks or flare-ups. It is important to treat the symptoms the moment you notice them. It will prevent them from worsening.
If you suffer from any of the asthma symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor. He/she will help identify your asthma risk factors and advise you about how to avoid the same. You will also be given medicines to help bring it under control. Left untreated, asthma can severely impair your regular life.
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To manage the condition better, you can reduce your contact with your triggers, check your asthma every day and take the help of an inhaler. Here are some more ways to manage asthma causes and risk factors.
- A regular regimen of exercise will strengthen your heart and lungs, easing some symptoms
- As excessive weight can worsen the symptoms, so it is best to maintain a healthy weight
- A healthy diet can do wonders to fight asthma. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that can give a boost to the immune system
- Using an air conditioner at home can help to get rid of airborne pollen and dust mites from the air in the house
- If you stay in a damp place, you might want to consider using a dehumidifier
- It is important to clean the house at least once a week to keep it tidy and dust free.
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Asthma can be a minor issue for some people, but can be life-threatening for others. Till now there has been no cure for the condition. Knowing the asthma risk factors can help control it and make your life easier.