What causes a person to get asthma?

Have you ever felt like your chest is tightening up and show mild discomfort every time you breathe? The experience can be unnerving, especially when it becomes recurrent. You might have just experienced an asthma attack or may even have asthma.

Asthma affects millions of people worldwide regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. It’s a chronic respiratory disease characterized by inflamed bronchial tubes which leads to difficulty breathing, wheezing and coughing.

While the exact cause of asthma remains unknown (the mystery lingers), there are several factors believed to trigger its onset (what could they be?). Join me as we explore these triggers in more detail.


If you have a close relative with asthma such as siblings or parents (or both), then chances are high that you might develop the condition too! (Blame our genes!) Studies suggest that genetics play a crucial role in determining one’s proneness towards developing asthma. If any member of your family has allergies, eczema or sinusitis symptoms, then all eyes should also be on us for proper diagnosis if we feel funny during specific seasons (Yes Grandma I’m looking at us)

Environmental Factors

Every day, we encounter environmental elements capable of triggering an asthmatic response through their inhalation. These include:


  • Pollen from grasses weeds and trees usually get blown around during springtime causing hay fever
  • Hay fever affects the nasal passages but can also lead to shortness of breath when pollen irritates airways.
    • Plant lovers beware!

Household Triggers

Our home environment is full many outdoor materials (ranging from cute decors down allergens living rent-free underneath our noses).
These everyday items include:
– Dust Mites: With homes dust being made up mainly of dead skin cells and household dirt, crawlies tend to multiply on them providing us with a natural attraction magnet for sneezing, coughing and breathing problem. (Go get your vacuum cleaner once in a while).
– Pet Dander: Love being around our furry soft friends? Their skins produce flakes just like ours which stick to upholstery or float near the surface of carpets; triggering asthmatic reactions in people allergic to it.
– Tobacco Smoke: Exposure to tobacco smoke can cause irritation of the lungs and result in frequent asthma attacks among non-smokers.
Maybe let’s not take that drag after all

Occupational Triggers

Occupational exposure may pose an increased risk towards developing asthma (better find another job quickly). These include:
– Industrial Chemicals such as formaldehyde, Toluene di isocyanates are known occupational irritants
– Biological Proteins often found hair salons or factory farms living examples include dust from flour or by-products from animals leading workers exposed susceptible towards developing asthma symptoms.

Viral Infections

Asthma attacks occur frequently after viral infections particularly those involving respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (quite cumbersome word I know), Rhinovirus, Adenovirus or Influenza Virus.{^1} Infected individuals experience an inflammatory response which leads to mucus production preventing airflow through the bronchioles leading to chest tightening.

(Can’t we have fun without viruses these days?)

Air Pollution

Air pollution involves harmful particles affecting air quality increasing vulnerability toward Respiratory tract infections Asthma caused by Ambient Atmospheric Particles(AAP){^2}. It only takes moments of inhaling pollutants alongside nitrates and sulfides arising from automobiles Indoor combustion fuels including wood-burning stoves further exposing individuals inhabiting Urban areas at risk{^3}{^4}.

(Emergency Protocol Alert) Sometimes limits are placed monitoring petrol emission levels to diminish risk of Asthma Attacks{^6}.

## Allergies

Allergic reactions can also trigger the onset of asthma attacks. The body’s immune system overreacts in response to allergies leading chemical signals causing inflammation restrictive airfare surrounding bronchial tubes {^3}. Examples include:
– Food Allergens such as nuts, eggs or shellfish might hinder physical activity due to swelling
– Medication: Antibiotics like penicillin or anti-inflammatory drugs may lead to asthma symptoms in affected individuals.
(Asthma medication conundrum) A prime example of this is Aspirin-induced Asthma being a variant where immediate medical attention is recommended during an attack.(Hurry!)

Exercise Induced (EIA)

This refers specifically to events when asthmatic triggers are activated by physical exertion. Underlying mechanisms suggest that it occurs following intense mental focus and increase heart rate with forceful and rapid breathing building additional pressure precluding better respiration.{4} Probable factors implicated in EIA according research include:

Airway Cooling/Colds-The evaporation effect presiding from inhaling cool dry air changes the temperature within respiratory surfaces producing constriction inducing symptoms associated with asthma (fanatics be warned).

Chlorine/Gaseous Irritants; Swimmers exposed towards chlorine-containing pools Inhalation prior straining produces Bronchoconstriction triggering acute symptoms mimicking those seen during asthmatic episodes.

If you are already exercising successfully despite having asthma kudos!

Stress & Anxiety

Stress can worsen any underlying medical conditions including Asthma{^7}. In raised situations, adrenal glands produce adrenaline which tightens specific muscles including lung pathways after stimulating brain functions further aggravating asthmatic signs.By this fact stress management measures could seem imperative while discussing long term ongoing solutions for managing chronic diseases-inclusive options {^8}like yoga exercises or biofeedback sessions.


In conclusion, asthma may have no known root cause to signify a cure, but it can still be managed with proper care and attention. Identifying the asthmatic triggers that affect us most adds valuable insight into managing the severity of its symptoms/cure{^7}, points which are good places START for those seeking treatment towards better health. As we speak up on this matter more often and frequently educate ourselves preventing Asthma induction/Triggers in general; we’ll all become one step forward in protecting both ourselves and our loved ones from any possible harm.

“It is easier to prevent asthma than to treat a severe attack.” -Rangaswamy Govindarajan

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