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 substances that trigger allergies (allergens) and irritants can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:
Feb. 13, 2014
- Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
- 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
- Menstrual cycle in some women
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- What is asthma? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma/. Accessed Sept. 13, 2013.
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- 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 Sept. 12, 2013.
- Asthma. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Sept. 13, 2013.
- Alternative therapies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=16&cont=40. Accessed Sept. 13, 2013.
- Sheshadri A, et al. Bronchial thermoplasty: A novel therapy for severe asthma. Clinics in Chest Medicine. 2013;34:437.
- Li JTC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 20, 2013.