Asthma and Breathing Conditions
What are Your Risk Factors?
Anyone can get asthma, although it is usually first diagnosed in young people. Risk factors for asthma can be either inherent (something you are born with) or external (factors that you are exposed to). Asthma risk factors differ depending on whether you are a child or an adult. While we cannot control inherent asthma risk factors, external factors can be modified to reduce the risk or severity of asthma in both adults and children.
Inherent Asthma Risk Factors for Children
Family history: If one or both parents have asthma or allergies, their child is more likely to develop the condition. If a mother has asthma, the likelihood is greater than if the father has it.
Allergies: Children who have allergies are more likely to have asthma.
Gender:During childhood, boys are more likely to have asthma than girls.
External Asthma Risk Factors for Children
- Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to have asthma. This is particularly true if the mother smokes
- Exposure to allergens. Children exposed to furry or feathered pets are more likely to develop asthma.
- Having an Infection. Children who have viral respiratory infections when they are very young are more likely to develop asthma in childhood.
- Exposure to air pollution. Living in a city or town increases a child’s risk of developing asthma.
Asthma Risk Factors for Adults
Many people who have asthma as adults developed the condition when they were children. Therefore, the risk factors are the same as above. One additional risk factor is:
Exposure to occupational irritants. Occupational irritants include fumes, gases dust, latex products, metals, and animal dander.
Many factors contribute to the successful management of asthma.
Here are the primary ways to avoid asthma attacks:
Avoid your triggers. Learning to identify your triggers will help you avoid an asthma attack.
Common triggers include the following:
- dust and dust mites
- animal dander
- viral infections
- certain air pollutants
- cigarette smoke
- exercise/vigorous activity
- cold air
- chemical fumes
- strong smelling substances, e.g. perfumes
- intense emotions
- certain food additives, e.g. sulfites
Take your medications. To minimize the possibility of side effects, your doctor will prescribe the lowest dose of medication needed to control your symptoms. It may take some experimentation to determine what the “right” dose is. You and your doctor may have to try different doses of different medications before you find what works best for you. Your medication needs may change over time.
Become educated. Education is the key to managing asthma successfully. Your healthcare team (doctor, pharmacist, etc.) can help you develop a management plan that will help you better manage your condition and reduce the number and severity of asthma attacks.
Stick to your plan of action. Your doctor will work with you to develop an action plan suited to your specific needs. Wandering from this plan can give rise to serious consequences. If you do not wish to take your medication as scheduled, or if it is not working for you, you should always discuss this with your doctor before making changes.
Consult your doctor/healthcare professional about new food-based non-drug supplements formulated to help improve quality of life such as Recovery with Nutricol. (Remember that nutritional supplements are not a substitute for your prescribed asthma medication.)