A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. These include:

  • Having a blood relative (such as a parent or sibling) with asthma
  • Having another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Being overweight
  • Being a smoker
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Having a mother who smoked while pregnant
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing

Exposure to allergens, exposure to certain germs or parasites, and having some types of bacterial or viral infections also may be risk factors. However, more research is needed to determine what role they may play in developing asthma.

Feb. 13, 2014