Asthma is a type of chronic respiratory disease in which the airways narrow and swell, producing additional mucus as well as triggering shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Asthma is only a minor nuisance for some people, while it is life threatening for others.
Certain risk factors of asthma can trigger the attacks and so far there is no cure for the condition. Even if you feel fine, you will still have the disease, making you prone to flare ups. By knowing the major risk factors of asthma, you can help control your asthma, making your life much easier.
Risk Factors of Asthma
Generally, overcoming asthma is a life-long combat. And there are many risk factors that will trigger the asthma outbreaks. Learning these asthma risk factors will help to get your asthma condition under control.
1. Gender and Age
Childhood asthma affects boys more often than girls and experts believe this may be because young males have smaller airways. By age 20, males and females have the same risk of asthma, but after age 40, females are more likely to develop adult asthma.
2. Genetic Factors
The genetic makeup that you inherit from your parents can also be one of the risk factors of asthma. Experts think that about three-fifths of those with asthma inherited the condition. The CDC released a report estimating that people with a parent who has asthma have an increased risk of between three and six times more for developing asthma.
Atopy is an allergic hypersensitivity which affects various body parts that don’t contact the allergens. It can include asthma, eczema, allergic conjunctivitis, and allergic rhinitis. Some children who have atopic dermatitis (eczema) develop asthma and some research shows that these children may have asthma that is more persistent and severe in adulthood.
It is common for someone to have both allergies and asthma. In many cases, indoor allergies predict asthma. In fact, the endotoxins found in house dust have been directly linked to asthma symptoms and treatments. Other allergens can include mold, fungi, dust mites, cockroaches, and animal proteins.
Smoking has been linked to increased risk of asthma in multiple studies. In addition, adolescents who smoke have an increased asthma risk. Even secondhand smoke has been linked to developing asthma, particularly early in life.
Certain studies have found that asthma more frequently occurs in adults and children who are overweight. These overweight asthmatics also tend to spend more days taking asthma medications and have an increased risk of uncontrolled asthma.
7. Foods Containing Sulphites
Sulphites occur naturally in certain drinks and foods. They are also used to preserve foods and items of large quantities include jam, fruit juice, prawns, and a great deal of pre-cooked or processed meals. Although most asthmatics don’t have this trigger, it is a possibility.
8. Environment Conditions
Bad weather conditions, including humid days, poor air quality, windy days, cold or hot air, and sudden temperature changes are linked to asthma flare ups. Certain indoor conditions, including chemicals in the flooring materials, dust mites, dampness, or mold may also trigger it. Air pollution also has an impact as those who grow up in areas with smog have a higher risk of developing asthma, and this is especially true for those who play outside.
9. Viral Respiratory Infections
Respiratory infections that occur during childhood or infancy may lead to wheezing. In fact, some children with viral respiratory infections will have chronic asthma later in life. Experts still aren’t sure how the two things are related, although the connection appears to be clear.
How to Reduce the Risks of Asthma
Since it's hard to get rid of asthma, you should spare no effects to reduce the risk factors of asthma to prevention the flare-ups or ease its symptoms.
1. Avoid Triggers
- Clean air at home. Using your air conditioner will reduce the quantity of airborne pollen in the house from weeds, grasses, and trees. It also decreases the indoor humidity while reducing dust mite exposure. If your home isn’t air conditioned, simply keep your windows shut throughout pollen season.
- Decontaminate bedroom. Decontaminate your home by minimizing any dust that can worsen your nighttime symptoms. Use dustproof covers on your box spring, mattress, and pillows. Opt for washable blinds and curtains and swap out your carpet for linoleum or hardwood flooring.
- Maintain proper humidity. If your home is located in a climate that is damp, ask your doctor whether he recommends using a dehumidifier.
- Clean and tidy up the house. Be sure to clean your home at a minimum of once each week. If there is a lot of dust, either have someone else clean or wear a mask to do it on your own. Be sure to clean any damp areas (especially in the kitchen and bathroom) to prevent mold spores. Those who have dander allergies should avoid getting pets with feathers or fur. If you do have these pets, groom or bathe them regularly.
2. Healthy Lifestyle
- Regular exercise. You can use treatment to control symptoms and prevent asthma attacks while being active. Regularly exercising will strengthen your lungs and heart, relieving some symptoms. Always wear a face mask when exercising in cold temperatures.
- Healthy weight. As being overweight may increase your risk or worsen symptoms, do your best to stay within a healthy weight range.
- Healthy diet. Eating fruits and vegetables can improve your lung function, reducing the symptoms of asthma. That is because these foods contain antioxidants, which help boost your immune system.
- Prevention of disease that may induce asthma. Acid reflux can lead to heartburn, which in turn can damage your lung airways, worsening your asthma symptoms. If you experience constant or even frequent heartburn, ask your doctor about treatment. Some people need to treat their GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) before they see improvement in their asthma symptoms.
3. Other Treatments
When you suffer from asthma, there are three main options for easing symptoms. You can decrease your contact with your triggers, monitor the asthma daily, and/or use an inhaler. There are several types of medications and long term ones include inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta agonists, combination inhalers, and theophylline. Rescue medications, such as inhalers, include short-acting beta agonists, ipratropium, and intravenous or oral corticosteroids.
Watch a video about some treatments for asthma: