Image is from CDC

Asthma is a common respiratory infection and is often long-term. It is associated with recurring inflammatory characteristics such as bronchospasm and reversible airflow obstruction.

The symptoms one may experience include coughing, wheezing, breath shortness and chest tightness. These signs are bound to change depending on the person’s immunity, or the exercise one is undertaking.

Causes of asthma

Asthma is brought about by the effect of a combination of many factors. The factors include interactions that are genetically and environmentally instigated. The effect of the above factors often go along away in influencing the sensitivity and rigorousness of asthma to treatment.

Recent scientific research affirms that asthma cases are on the rise due to the changing environmental conditions. Further genetics study reveal that, while asthma is almost spread among the ages, it is most likely that onset before the age of twelve is likely to be caused by genetic influence while contracting asthma after the age of thirteen would be environment-influenced.

Environmental causes

There is a myriad of such factors that can actually lead to the development and exacerbation of this respiratory infection. They include to mention but a few,

  • Air pollution, allergens that cause allergies and exposure to hazardous environmental chemicals.
  • Expectant mothers are advised to restrain from smoking as this impends a high risk of asthma.
  • Other factors such as traffic pollution could cause emission of dangerous gasses to the open air; this could be a major cause of asthma development and severity.
  • This has been mostly the case in the US, as nearly half of the children who have asthma are from areas with air quality below standard.
  • Organic compounds that are volatile may prompt asthma especially if one exposes themselves to the compounds for long hours. They include phthalates, formaldehyde and some types of PVC.
  • One more common factor is contact with indoor allergens. There are many indoor allergens, and common ones include animal dander, cockroaches, and dust mites.
  • A few viral respiratory diseases may increase the risk of contracting asthma, one of them was found to be respiratory syncytial virus.

Genetic causes

As seen above, genetics also plays a major role in contracting asthma.One sure cause of asthma-related to the above subtopic is family history with an innumerably different of genes being concerned. In case a twin is affected there is a chance of up to about 25% of the other contracting asthma. By 2006, twenty different gene types had been associated with asthma in at least six different populations. A good number of these genes are connected to the immune system or inflammation. However, results have not been consistent in the various tested populations.

In 2006, a study on genetic association associates over 100 genes with asthma. In other cases, genetic variants are found to cause asthma only when in combination with other environmental exposures. A good example would be single nucleotide polymorphism found in the region of CD14 and exposure to a bacterial product named endotoxin. Exposure to the latter may come from numerous factors related to the environment that include tobacco smoke, animals such as dogs and sometimes even cats. It could be concluded then that risk of asthma is contributed by both ones genetic composition and a given level of exposure to endotoxin.