Who is at the Risk of getting Asthma?

Updated at: Jan 19, 2013
Who is at the Risk of getting Asthma?

Asthma can affect any age group , i.e. children, adults, elderly, but it often starts during childhood.All of us are at risk of asthma, but it usually does not start randomly without the interplay of asthma risk factors.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
AsthmaWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Jan 18, 2013

Asthma can affect any age group , i.e. children, adults, elderly, but it often starts during childhood.All of us are at risk of asthma, but it usually does not start randomly without the interplay of asthma risk factors. People with asthma usually have some factors that predispose them to asthma and other respiratory problems. Read to know more on who is at risk of getting asthma symptoms (such as cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath).


[Read: Foods that Fight Asthma]


Age and asthma: Asthma often starts during childhood. Children who develop respiratory infections and wheeze frequently are at risk of developing asthmathat may persist beyond 6 years of age. Other factors that increases a child’s risk of asthma include having allergies, eczema (an allergic skin condition), or family history of asthma (parents).

Gender and Asthma:
In childhood, asthma is more common in boys than in girls. But in adults (after the age of 40)more women have the disease as compared to men. The proportion men and women with asthma by the age of 20 is approximately the same. The exact reason why asthma occurs more commonly in boys is not known, but according to some experts the young male's airway size is smaller when compared to the female's airway, and this probably increases the risk of wheezing after a cold or other viral infection.

[Read: How to Control Asthma Symptoms]

Your risk of asthma is increased if you have a family history of asthma (genetically predisposed). The risk is three to six times more than a person who does not have a parent with asthma. According to research three-fifths of all asthma cases are hereditary.

Airway hyperreactivity and asthma:
People with hyper-reactive airways are at risk for asthma.Everyone with airway hyper-reactivity does not develop asthma, and how it causes asthma is not known.

Atopy and asthma: Different allergies (atopy) and asthma often coexist. It appears that people with asthma often have atopy or allergic hypersensitivity such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis. Studies have observed that 40% to 50% of children with eczema or atopic dermatitis develop asthma. According to some studies the risk of developing severe and persistent asthma as adults is higher in children who have atopic dermatitis.

Family history and asthma:


[Read: Natural Remedies for Asthma]


Environmental factors and asthma: Exposure to respiratory irritants such as cigarette smoke, mold, and noxious fumes from household cleaners and paints increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Several other environmental factors such as air pollution, ozone (it is present in smog), cold temperatures, and high humidity can also trigger asthma in susceptible people.The risk of wheezing, breathlessness, asthma attacks, is higher in people who cook on gas stoves than those who cook with other methods as gas stoves produce indoor nitrogen dioxide (arespiratory irritant).

Cigarette smoke and asthma:
People who smoke are at higher risk of developing asthma and their symptoms tend to be more severe. Exposure to second hand smoke in early life increase the risk ofwheezing, breathlessness, asthma attacks.

Obesity and Asthma: Some studies indicate that overweight and obese adults (those with a BMI greater than 25 but less than 30) are at higher risk of asthma (nonallergic asthma than allergic asthma).

Pregnancy and Asthma:
Maternal smoking during pregnancy,premature birth are some factors which increase the risk of asthma in children.

Awareness of your risk factors for asthma can help you to control them and make some lifestyle changes. For preventing asthma symptoms control/avoidance of risk factors as important as treatment of asthma.


Read more articles on Asthma.


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