Glossary On Causes of Asthma

Why am I so breathless?

The primary reason, why asthma (breathlessness, respiratory allergy, wheeze) develops in some people and not in others, is not well understood. However, certain risk factors have been identified as asthma causes,which make a person more prone to develop this condition. Conversely, it must be noted that not all cases develop asthma in spite of the presence of risk factors.

One of the strongest risk factors for asthma is a combination of genetic tendency and exposure to allergens / irritants. The allergens or irritants form a large group and some of the common ones are mentioned here:

  • Pollen and moulds
  • House dust mites
  • Air pollution
  • Pet dander
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Chemical irritants in the workplace
  • Strong perfumes
  • Presence of any other kind of allergy

Apart from allergens/irritants, there are other things that can trigger an asthmatic attack:

Here is a look at a few such causes of asthma:

  • Chilly air
  • Intense emotions like anger, fear, etc.
  • Physical exercise (known as an Exercise-induced cause of Asthma, this is triggered by rigorous physical exercise)
  • Certain drugs like aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Beta-blockers, etc.
  • Viral infections
  • Certain foods
  • Changes in weather
  • Hormonal changes such as those occurring in pregnancy, menopause, thyroid disorders, etc.
  • Obesity
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) – the reflux of the acid from the stomach into the food pipe (esophagus) can trigger asthma in sensitive individuals
  • Heredity