Why Does Asthma Develop?

Asthma is the name given to a set of respiratory conditions that impact an individual’s ability to breathe and function normally. Depending on the severity of the condition, its overall impact on one’s quality of life and day-to-day existence can be significant. There are many different reasons why asthma may develop in individuals, but identifying the exact source of an individual’s asthma can be key to administering the proper treatment.

If you or a loved one have asthma, take a look at this overview describing the different causes behind the condition and whether you would benefit from a consultation with our leading pediatric pulmonologist.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory condition in which the body’s airways narrow and become inflamed. In effect, the airways produce excess mucus, which can clog an individual’s ability to breathe normally.

Certain types of asthma can cause acute asthma attacks, which can severely disrupt an individual’s ability to function. In extreme cases, this type of asthma can even lead to death.

Asthma is considered a chronic condition, which means that patients live with it for life. Though there is no cure for asthma, it can be effectively managed if you are intentional in your treatment.

Symptoms of Asthma

There are many different symptoms of asthma, some of which are connected to specific types. Some of the more common symptoms of asthma include the following: 

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness

Some of the symptoms of asthma are more typical of certain types of asthma. In general, the primary subtypes of asthma include:

  • Exercise-induced asthma: Heavy exercise triggers this type of asthma, as well as exercise-induced bronchospasm.
  • Occupational asthma: People who are chronically exposed to irritating substances often develop this type of asthma.
  • ACOS (Asthma-COPD overlap syndrome): This type of asthma mixes the symptoms of asthma with COPD, which can result in very debilitating respiratory issues.

Identifying the exact subtype of asthma a patient is dealing with can help create a more effective treatment strategy. Therefore, setting up a consultation with your physician will help you hone in on the exact type of asthma you are dealing with and, in turn, can help the two of you discuss what would make the most sense moving forward with your treatment plan.

Sources of Asthma

There are many different causes of asthma, some of which a patient is born with, while others develop over time through lifestyle and environmental factors. Some of the primary causes of asthma include the following:


Certain individuals who have allergies might be at risk for developing asthma. Certain conditions, such as dermatitis and allergic rhinitis, are associated with the development of asthma.

Genetic Risk

Individuals with a parent who has asthma are at higher risk for developing asthma. Accordingly, they have a 25 to 50% chance of developing asthma depending on how many of their parents are asthmatic.

Respiratory infections

Respiratory issues that develop in infancy and childhood have the potential to cause wheezing and other problems, which in turn can develop into asthma.

Occupational hazards

If you are predisposed to developing asthma, exposing yourself to certain workplace elements can cause or inflame elements of asthma. These elements include things like industrial dust, chemical fumes, vapors and molds that can cause asthma to develop.

Air pollution

Exposure to smog and air pollution raises the risk of asthma. Many people around the world live in crowded cities and are exposed to high levels of industrial air pollution.


Cigarette smoke is highly damaging to the respiratory system. Therefore, individuals who smoke have a much higher risk of developing asthma. In addition, individuals who are exposed to secondhand smoke during childhood or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing asthma.


Individuals who are obese are also at a higher risk for developing asthma, and there is some controversy over the exact connection between these two phenomena. Still, some studies point to the fact that obesity causes the presence of low-grade inflammation throughout the body, which can cause the symptoms of asthma to inflame.

Additionally, societal factors, like poverty and lack of health insurance, can make an individual’s asthma more difficult to manage.

The Best Pulmonologist in Southern California

Dr. Mayank Shukla and his award-winning team are the best resources for asthma treatment in New York. If you are interested in discussing your asthma symptoms with a trained professional, contact Dr. Shukla today to make an appointment.

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