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What are the causes and risk factors of asthma?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Doctors aren't sure what causes asthma, but it probably comes from a combination of inherited and environmental triggers. If you are genetically prone to asthma, an attack can be brought on if you feel stressed, breathe cold air or cigarette smoke, have a cold or inhale allergens like mold or pollen.

Asthma can also be caused by allergies. Allergens such as pet dander can swell the passages in the nose and the airways to the lungs, causing tightness of breath and wheezing. Additionally, some people may develop asthma if they are exposed to certain chemicals while at work.

Another possible cause of asthma is the "hygiene hypothesis." Some scientists think that modern advancements in personal hygiene have limited children's exposure to common infections, affecting the development of their immune systems. They may be more prone to developing allergies and asthma because they have not had the chance to develop immunity to common allergens.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.