Asthma is a long-lasting ailment that affects the air passages in the lungs. The precise cause is still not known but it is believed to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Nevertheless, it is still vague why some individuals are affected by asthma and others are not. In most cases, allergies are often linked with asthma, but not all with allergies develop the ailment. Even though the causes are not fully determined, doctors have pinpointed the main causes of the symptoms.
Major causes of asthma
An individual with asthma has inflamed airway linings. This inflammation causes the air passages to become highly sensitive to irritants and triggers. Take note that the inflammation can constrict the air passages and disrupts the passage of air via the airways and causes difficulty breathing in and out.
Constriction of the airways
As an added complication, once the airways are exposed to certain asthma triggers, the muscles adjacent the airways become tight. As a result, the air passages become narrow and causes a tight sensation in the chest. In addition, mucus can build up in these airways, further worsening the breathing difficulty.
The triggers responsible for the inflammation and constricted airway vary for everyone. Once the airway is exposed to any of the asthma triggers, it becomes inflamed, constricted and becomes filled with mucus. Additionally, the lining of the airway might swell which causes constriction.
The common asthma triggers include the following:
- Dust mites and cockroaches
- Animal dander
- Tobacco smoke
- Weather changes
- Physical activity
- Respiratory infections
- Stress and strong emotions
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Allergies to food or sulfites
- Certain medications
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on asthma is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage respiratory emergencies, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.