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Asthma is an extremely common pathology, especially in Western Europe and the United States. It affects millions of people of all ages and genders. In France alone, there are nearly 4 million people with asthma, many of them children. Nevertheless, surprisingly enough, the exact origins of this chronic respiratory disease are still relatively unknown, in particular the risk factors. How do you know if you are having an asthma attack? What are the triggers for seizures? We tell you in this article how to prevent and treat this debilitating respiratory disease.

How does asthma manifest?

First, let’s take a look at the forms that asthma can take. This manifests itself episodically, in the form of more or less acute and regular attacks. In addition, asthma attacks can be triggered by a multitude of external factors that vary from one person to another.

When seizures occur, they may be characterized by breathing difficulties, persistent and uncontrollable cough, or even wheezing (or dyspnea). During asthma attacks, several phenomena combine in the airways of the affected person. First of all, it is the contraction of the bronchial muscles and sometimes the formation of edema. The production of mucus also contributes to obstruct the passage of air in the airways of the asthmatic person.

What triggers an asthma attack?

As to triggers at the origin of asthma attacks, these are multiple. It can be, for example, the presence of allergens in the air (dust, pollen, animal hair, mold, etc.). cold airnatural or emanating from air conditioning can also play a triggering role.

Other triggers are more related to human activity. It can be the atmospheric pollution, for example, to airborne chemicals. At last, common respiratory diseases such as the flu, colds or Covid-19 are also responsible for the occurrence of asthma attacks.

What are the known risk factors for asthma?

The personal risk factors associated with asthma remain to this day relatively poorly known and poorly documented. Nevertheless, here is what we now know about the profiles of people most likely to develop asthma during their lifetime.

Genetic and hereditary factors

When it comes to asthma, like most illnesses, unfortunately, we are not all equal. Thus, some people have much higher risk factors from birth. This type of predisposition has its roots in genetics and is therefore potentially transmitted from generation to generation.

The way in which this genetic asthma is transmitted is not fully understood, but it is known for certain that the profiles of the following people are more likely to develop asthma during their lifetime:

  • People with one or more parents and/or siblings with asthma.
  • People with allergies, especially to pollen and dust.
  • People suffering from obesity.
  • People whose birth weight was lower than average.
  • Finally, there would be a causal link between people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease and asthma.

Environmental and lifestyle factors

There is also a category of people who would not be affected by hereditary type factors, but whose lifestyle exposes them to an increased risk of developing asthma at some point in their life. Here are some of the main profiles affected by this scenario:

  • People repeatedly exposed to chemicals (solvents, paint, cosmetics, etc.), dust, certain metals, etc. This category mainly concerns people subjected to this type of exposure during their professional activity.
  • People living in particularly polluted areas (downtown, near factories, mines, etc.).
  • Smoking, both in active and passive smokers, but also during pregnancy, would increase the risk of asthma in the newborn.

Finally, of course, people who combine several risk factors, both genetic and environmental, actually increase the risk of developing asthma.

asthma and tobacco

How to prevent asthma, and how to treat it?

Asthma cannot be cured permanently. and you have to live with it all your life. However, effective treatments and prevention methods do exist.

Asthma treatments

Treatments of the symptoms make it possible to soothe the respiratory distress in the event of an asthma attack. These come in the form of a spray for inhaling a powdered active ingredient. Among the most common are AiromirVentolin, Ventilastin or even Bricanyl.


If the genetic and hereditary causes of asthma are uncontrollable and depend on chance, it is however possible to act on those environmental. Thus, it is appropriate toavoid exposure to pollution, chemicals, smoke and dust as much as possible. In particular by choosing a place of life and work as isolated as possible from these problematic elements.

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