Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder affecting the airways of the lungs. The cause of asthma is not yet known. However, studies have shown that there are certain trigger factors that lead to an asthmatic attack in individuals. When these trigger factors come in contact with the airways they lead to narrowing of the airways. The airway lining becomes swollen and inflamed. There is increased production of mucus in the airway lining. The muscles surrounding the airway lining become sensitive and start to constrict. This leads to further narrowing of the airways. As a result there is obstruction to the normal airflow and the person suffering from an asthmatic attack complains of difficulty in breathing, respiratory wheezing and the tightness of chest. These symptoms may be worse at night. The symptoms may also be associated with cough.
The common trigger factors that lead to an asthmatic attack as listed below:
Allergies can trigger asthma
Allergy induced asthma is one of the most common types of asthma. Some of the common allergies include allergy to dust, cold weather, eggs, soy, cow’s milk, peanuts, fish, shrimp, smoke and pollen. Allergic asthma may also be associated with skin diseases which are triggered by allergies. The airway inflammation in an allergic asthma is caused mainly due to an immune-mediated process in which inflammatory cells and inflammatory mediators enter the airway tissues. The most important inflammatory cells involved are eosinophils, mast cells, and T lymphocytes.
Infections of the upper respiratory tract may lead to the onset of asthma
Infections of the upper respiratory tract like chronic nasal sinusitis lead to the inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the sinuses. As a result there is excessive production of mucus by the mucus membranes. Hence the airways of the affected individual also respond in a similar manner resulting in excessive mucus production in the airway lining. This leads to the narrowing of the airways and triggers an asthmatic attack.
Smoking may be one of the trigger factors for asthma
Smoking is also one of the major risk factors in the development of asthma. Recent studies have revealed that babies of mothers who smoked during their pregnancy are at a higher risk to suffer from childhood asthma .Smoke is also one of the allergic trigger factors that may lead to the onset of an asthmatic attack.
The symptoms of asthma are aggravated by smoking.
Exercise can make asthmatic symptoms worse
Asthma may also be triggered by exercise or strenuous physical exertion. In many asthmatics exercise leads to the narrowing of the airways thereby causing airflow obstruction and leading to an asthmatic attack.
Stress is one of the major trigger factors in an asthmatic attack
Symptoms of asthma are made worse by stressful situations, shock and sudden unexpected emotional disturbances. Stress is identified as one of the major trigger factors that leads to the onset of an asthmatic attack.
Irritants can trigger an asthmatic attack
Many strong irritants like strong odors, perfumes, tobacco smoke can cause an asthmatic attack.