What Causes Asthma
No one knows exactly what causes asthma. It is considered to be caused by a
combination of environmental and genetic (hereditary) factors. A child with
asthma may have a parent or other close relative who has asthma.
Allergy is considered to be a cause of bronchial asthma and bronchitis.
Allergy is a kind of reaction of the body to external substances which may
or may not be otherwise harmful. A healthy body is guarded against the
invasion of germs by certain special cells which are collectively called the
immune system. As a reaction to any foreign body, an antibody is produced
inside the individual that envelops and destroy the former. Sometimes this
immune system over reacts to some apparently harmless substance such as
pollen, pieces of hair, dust particles and even perfume.
Substances that cause an allergic reaction in some people are called
allergens. These allergens range from dust mites (microscopic bugs that live
in dust), molds, pollen, animal dander, cockroaches, fine dust particles to
tiny fragments of fur which float in the air and which fall off moulting
animals and birds.
Certain substances such as chalk dust or smoke in
the air can also trigger asthma because they irritate the airways. Asthma
patients are often very sensitive to irritating fumes such as cigarette
smoke or the smell of lime which is often used for white washing walls. Some
patients are also allergic to medicines such as penicillin, asprin and some
preservatives used in tinned food and drinks.
Some people have
exercise-induced asthma, which is triggered by physical activity. Although
it can be especially frustrating, most cases of exercise-induced asthma can
be treated so that people can still enjoy the sports they love. Cold or dry
air can sometimes trigger asthma symptoms in certain people, as can extreme
heat or humidity. Respiratory tract infections like colds, flu, and other
viral infections can also trigger asthma in some people.
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