What are the risk factors for asthma?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 23, 2011

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Asthma is a common respiratory disease which affects millions of adults and children. The problem has increased over the past few decades but it isn't clear why. Asthma can affect anyone but some factors which can increase your risk of asthma are:

  • Genetic factors: If you have a blood relative (such as a parent or sibling) with asthma, your risk of developing asthma is increased.  Children who have a family history of asthma (genetically predisposed) are more likely to become hypersensitive to animals, pollen, dust in the environment and other allergens which can trigger asthma.
  • Other allergies: People with an allergic condition such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever) are more likely to experience an asthmatic attack.
  • factors: Children who live in cleaner environments are more likely to develop asthma according to the hygiene hypothesis. Hygiene hypothesis considers that children who are not exposed to bacterial infections that "kick starts" the immune system early on in life makes them more allergenic and likely to develop asthma. Studies suggest that infections early in life possibly direct the immune system away from allergic responses.
  • Tobacco smoke: People who smoke, who are exposed to second hand smoke and babies who are exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy or in early childhood are at higher risk of developing asthma. Their symptoms tend to be more severe.
  • Environmental pollution: Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of air pollutants increases the risk of developing asthma. Air pollution in urban areas makes people residing there more likely to develop asthma as compared to people living in rural areas.
  • Occupational exposure: Occupational exposure to asthma triggers such as chemicals used in farming, in the dyeing industry and in hairdressing can make you more likely to the symptoms of asthma.
  • Birth weight: Low birth weight children are at higher risk of asthma.

People with more risk factors are more likely to develop asthma. However, the presence of risk factors of asthma does not mean that you will definitely get asthma; it just increases your chances of developing asthma. A person without risk factors can also develop asthma. Knowing your personal asthma risk factors can help you to control the modifiable risks such as smoking and occupational exposure to triggers. Treatment can control your symptoms but measures to avoid risk factors are vital in controlling and preventing asthma symptoms.



Read more articles on Asthma Causes and Risks



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