It isn't clear why some people get asthma and others don't, but it's probably due to a combination of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors.
Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:
Aug. 30, 2016
- Airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
- Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
- Cold air
- Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
- Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
- Strong emotions and stress
- Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
- Martinez FD, et al. Asthma. The Lancet. 2013;382:1360.
- What is asthma? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma. Accessed April 27, 2015.
- Diagnosis and management of asthma guideline. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. https://www.icsi.org/guidelines__more/catalog_guidelines_and_more/catalog_guidelines/catalog_respiratory_guidelines/asthma/. Accessed April 27, 2015.
- Global strategy for asthma management and prevention (2015 update). Global Initiative for Asthma. http://www.ginasthma.org/documents/4. Accessed April 27, 2015.
- Expert panel report 3 (EPR-3): Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda, Md.: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/. Accessed Sept. 13, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Asthma. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 27, 2015.
- Asthma. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed April 27, 2015.
- Updated information on leukotriene inhibitors: Montelukast (marketed as Singulair), zafirlukast (marketed as Accolate), and zileuton (marketed as Zyflo and Zyflo CR). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/DrugSafetyInformationforHeathcareProfessionals/ucm165489.htm. Accessed April 27, 2015.