How Do You Get Asthma? Things You Must Know

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Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs and airways. This affects 5 in every 100 people and in children too. So how do you get asthma? Asthma is believed to be caused by genetic factor along with a combination of environmental factor. Even though you cannot control your genes or their makeup but the one factor that can be controlled is the environment.

The chronic respiratory diseases caused by the inflammation of the airways has wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath as its common most symptoms. I have many asthmatic people in office who say they have never experienced any problems of short of breath or trouble in breathing before, until I ask them about the symptoms during childhood they faced. This just proves that each person has a different experience but the severity may or may not be the same always. Especially the ones in my office might had very mild intermittent asthma in childhood when the doctors also likely had very less knowledge or ways of diagnosing it.

Factors that Triggers the Asthma:


  • Allergens (e.g. dust, animal dander, pollens, etc.)
  • Chemical fumes (e.g. ammonia, chlorine etc.)
  • Air pollution (e.g. emissions from gas stoves, passive smoke etc.)
  • Workplace exposures (e.g. building materials, latex etc.)
  • Obesity (read below to know why)

Asthma can be triggered at any age! But why makes some people have it but not the others? Can you get asthma as well? Well, the answer is people with sensitive airways have asthma as compared to the normal people.

Can you Develop Asthma?

  • Doctors say that asthma sometimes runs in your families.
  • Asthma attack can be due to many things and trigger at any age, as mentioned above.
  • The triggers also include “allergens” which are present in the environment and certain chemicals that can trigger the allergic reactions. Your environment makes a mode for trigger too and hence depending on that your susceptibility could be judged.
  • Allergens are as common as pollens, animal dander, food items, perfume, house dust, and cigarette smoke etc. If you are in such an environment and inhaling any of these, the possibilities of developing asthma are more.
  • Allergens causes the lining of the walls of airways to result in inflammation and swollen. Thus it produces the extra mucus and muscles of the airways tighten. There is almost no or lesser room for the air to pass in and out.
  • The asthma attach could be more frequent in different people with chest infection. This gets severe in people.
  • Medical studies on the chronic nature of asthma have identified some interesting patters. The strongest risk factor to develop asthma in an individual is the history of atopic disease like eczema. It increases the risk highly for both hay fever and asthma.
  • In kids, the age between 3-14 have a positive skin test for allergies and an increase in the immunoglobulin E increases the possibility of having asthma. The more the allergens react to the skin test, the more odds of having asthma.

Other factors which Might have an impact on Human to Develop Asthma include:

  • The mother smoking during and after pregnancy
  • Antibiotic dosages used in early life
  • Cockroaches in the home

Obesity – a Reason for Asthma:

With respect to obesity, you might be wondering why! It is thoughts that due to building of the adipose tissue (fat), the respiratory function decreases. And the development of inflammation in the body is another fact that supports it. A study in Taiwan associates the asthma symptoms with each 20% additional number in the body mass index (BMI). No wonder, keeping healthy and fit is important for all aspects of life.

How long does Asthma last?

Asthma attack is intermittent but with a wide variation in the symptoms at different times. The more people with asthma have issues only occasionally but there are also some who struggle every day. Modern medicines have been a boon helping the asthma patients to control and relieve the symptoms such that the attack lasts only for a few hours or minutes depending on the severity. But without treatment there are possibilities that it may go on for days together. Some kids grow out of asthma with age but there are people who are affected at different time of the year. Asthma lasts in many for years and lifelong too.
75% of the asthma cases are diagnosed by age 7, the fact is asthma can develop at any age. Childhood asthma might look to have improved in the teenage but again has fair possibilities to reoccur by the mid 20s and 30s. However, if asthma occurs the first time in life, it would be mostly the 30s when the typical symptoms appear.

In females, the pregnancy years are another time when the body changes the most, and asthma sometimes develops during or after the childbearing months. The people with long standing nasal allergies or the ones complaining about frequent sinus infection develop asthma for the first time as adults. Nasal symptoms are often because of the allergies and they tend to aggravate to breathing problems over the year.

Asthma especially in work place can be the result of dust, mold or mice and cockroaches. Asthma is common among food-processing workers who are exposed to the wheat flour etc. High levels of suspended dust in air at any work place like smoky bars, construction sites and scented candle stores etc. also triggers symptoms of asthma.

Asthma in most cases can be treated. Without the proper treatment, it can be as bad as death. You must always seek for professional advice from a Board Certificated/ eligible Allergy and Asthma specialist. All patients should try to figure out what are the trigger point and their symptoms to help avoiding any flare-ups.

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