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eMed previously Babylon Health

Asthma Causes

Reviewed by Dr Claudia Pastides, 17th April 2019

Causes of Asthma

Asthma is caused by inflammation off the airways which may be triggered by different things in different people. Risk factors to developing asthma include:

  • If you have a family history of an allergic condition, like eczema and hay fever
  • Smoking or your mother smoking during pregnancy
  • Complications with your birth or being born premature
  • Living in an area with high rates of air pollution

Work related asthma

You may also be at risk of developing asthma if you are exposed to certain substances at work. Your job could be the cause of your asthma symptoms, particularly if your work environment is dusty or contains chemicals. This type of asthma is called occupational asthma and the most common irritants are:

  • Animals
  • Dust
  • Latex
  • Flour and grain dust
  • Chemicals and fumes

Speak to your doctor if you believe you may be suffering from occupational asthma.

Asthma triggers

Many asthma symptoms are triggered by certain factors, so it’s worth trying to find out your personal triggers and avoiding them when possible. When exposed to a trigger, the airways become narrow and clogged with mucus in response. Could any of these common triggers be making your symptoms worse?

  • Infections of the upper airways (RTIs) such as cold, flu, chest infection
  • Allergens such as dust and pollen
  • Irritants – air pollution, cigarette smoke
  • Pet hair
  • Mould and damp
  • Food allergies
  • Certain emotions – laughter and giddiness, stress
  • A change in the weather
  • Certain medicines and painkillers

If you’d like to discuss your asthma symptoms with a specialist, make an online appointment with one of our doctors today.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.