All about Asthma and its Triggers

Asthma is a long term lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airway. It is a common health issue and has been among the leading causes of deaths. Although people of all ages can be affected by asthma, this condition often begins during the childhood. The common symptoms of asthma include breathing problems, chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, and allergies to strong smell and dust. Both genetic and environmental factors are known to contribute to asthma.

Asthma can be classified into two types: Atopic or extrinsic and non-atopic or intrinsic. The symptoms of atopic or extrinsic asthma are often triggered or aggravated by allergens. People who suffer from extrinsic asthma have wheezing attacks on coming in contact with allergens that result in inflammation. Intrinsic asthma or non-atopic asthma, on the other hand, is not triggered or aggravated due to external allergens.

Some common risk factors that increase the risk of asthma include: family history of asthma, respiratory infections or lung diseases in childhood, frequent contact with animal dander, living in a polluted environment condition, and active or passive smoking.

Causes of Asthma

There are quite a few factors that are known to trigger asthmatic attacks in asthma patients. Although the asthma triggers differ from individual to individual, below is a list of a few common triggers that asthma patients should avoid.

Polluted Environment

One of the major and most common triggers of asthma is air pollution. The airways to lungs are quite sensitive and polluted air can cause swelling and inflammation. As a result of swollen airways, very little air reaches the lungs and this triggers an asthma attack. It is highly recommended for asthma patients to not live in an industrial area. It is also recommended that they carry their drugs with them if they ever need to travel to a polluted area.

Firsthand and Secondhand Smoke

Smoking is another well know asthma trigger. People who suffer from asthma should not only quit smoking, but also stay away from second hand smoke.

Climatic Conditions

Asthma attacks can also be triggered by drastic changes in climatic conditions. Thunderstorms, extremely humid conditions, drastic fall in temperatures, and directly breathing in cold air from air conditions can all trigger asthma attacks.


Hairy pets like cats and dogs can also cause asthma attacks. For people who suffer from asthma or have any family member who is affected by it, it is advised to not have any pets at home. If you do have pets, then you need to make sure that they are always kept clean and are never allowed to enter the bedroom of the person having asthma. As a precautionary measure, it is important to clean the house frequently so as to remove pet’s hair.

Cockroach Drippings, Dust Mites and Mold

Breathing-in dust mites, cockroach dropping and molds often trigger asthma attacks. Keeping your house clean and vacuuming frequently can help to keep away mold and cockroach droppings. It is also important to keep mattresses and pillow covers clean as dust mites are often found on them.

Some other factors that trigger asthma attacks in many people include acid reflux, respiratory infections, sinus infections, exercising, allergies and strong smell.

Although there is no cure for asthma, being aware of these factors and taking precautionary measures can allow people with asthma to live a normal life.