Asthma – How is it Caused?

The below content is derived from research done using sources available on the internet. Safey Medical Devices Inc and its subsidiaries do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of the content. No medical decision should be taken on the basis of below content without consulting with your Medical Practitioner.

1-in-13 people reportedly suffer from asthma around the world. Asthma prevalence has been steadily rising. What is this lung condition and how is it caused?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-in-13 people suffer with asthma. In the United States of America, some 25 million people have asthma, equating to 7.6% of adults and 8.4% of children. Across the Atlantic here in the UK, we have more than 5.4 million asthma sufferers, with more than 9% of young people experiencing asthma symptoms.

Asthma can have a damaging impact on everyday life and with asthma rates in the UK still among the highest in Europe, it’s important that asthma awareness is heightened.

We don’t know the exact cause of asthma

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) admits that none of us know the root cause of asthma. However, what we do know is the raft of irritants and triggers that can make it more likely that someone will develop asthma.

Asthma relates to the inflammation of your airways. The narrowing of your airways can make it harder to transfer air from your nose and mouth into your lungs. Various irritants and allergens are capable of entering the lungs over time that trigger asthma symptoms.

Why are more people suffering with asthma in the 21st century?

The lifestyle choices we make are said to be one of the main reasons why more people are experiencing asthma symptoms in the 21st century. The developed world has influenced a change in our homes, creating my hygienic living environments that actually make us more susceptible to allergens than before.

Studies continue into the fact that improved hygiene conditions – and the subsequent reductions in childhood infections – are actually doing immune systems more harm than good as they cannot develop and build an immunity to such bugs, allergens and irritants.

Combine that with the undoubted rise in environmental pollution due to increasing traffic levels and chemical emissions from power plants and heavy industry and it’s easy to see why so many people are falling foul of this debilitating lung condition.

Reasons why you may be more likely to develop asthma

According to Asthma UK, research has confirmed that although the root cause of asthma symptoms vary from person to person, there are several factors that can make you more likely to develop asthma:

  • Those with a lengthy family history of allergies and skin conditions such as eczema. If one or more of your parents have suffered with asthma in the past, statistically you are more likely to develop it.
  • If you already suffer from eczema or hay fever (an allergy to pollen).
  • If you experienced bronchiolitis as a young child.
  • Those born prematurely and required assistance from a ventilator to breathe in the early stages following your birth.
  • Those born with an abnormally low birth weight.
  • If your mother smoked during her pregnancy with you – smoking during pregnancy is scientifically proven to enhance the risk of a baby developing asthma at a young age.
  • If your parents smoked when you were a child – and still smoke today.
  • If you are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke – known as second-hand smoke.
  • Those who are regularly exposed to specific substances at work. This is known as occupational asthma, which we’ll go into greater detail about shortly.
  • Adult females going through the menopause may experience asthma for the first time due to an imbalance of hormones.

Asthma causes Vs Asthma triggers

There is a distinct difference between what an asthma ‘cause’ is and an asthma ‘trigger’. An asthma cause is considered to be the underlying reason why we experience asthma symptoms in the first instance. As you can see above, there are multiple factors that can cause the onset of asthma, even if your GP or asthma nurse will not be able to define the specific cause.

However, there are also a string of asthma triggers that can be very troublesome to asthma sufferers. Triggers are anything that exacerbates your asthma symptoms. For example, if you visit your grandparents that have pets, or you spend some time in a particularly dusty environment, it is quite likely to trigger your asthma symptoms. Cold weather is also proven to trigger asthma conditions.

Causes of occupational asthma

We’ve already mentioned that occupational asthma is a common cause of asthma symptoms. If you believe that your airways have worsened since entering a particular work-based environment, read on to discover more about the basics of occupational asthma.

The most typical causes of work-related asthma include:

  • Wood dust
  • Latex
  • Flour and grain dust
  • Isocyanates (chemicals usually used in spray paint)
  • Colophony (substances usually present in solder fumes)
  • Animals


This means that people who work as timber merchants, welders, bakers, nurses, chemical workers, animal handlers, vets and those within food processing environments are at the highest risk of being exposed to common asthma triggers.

Managing asthma symptoms is key to maintaining your lifestyle

It is commonly said that two-thirds of all deaths linked to asthma are entirely preventable. At Safey, we believe the development of our smart inhaler tools can simplify the adherence and monitoring of asthma treatment across the UK and beyond. Our Bluetooth-enabled inhalers provide real-time information to GPs and asthma nurses on a patient’s adherence of their asthma medication. The smart sensors within our devices help to monitor inhaler technique and can gamify the training on how to correct a patient’s adherence to ensure their lungs receive the maximum benefit from the medication.

Fortunately, asthma doesn’t need to be a millstone around your neck. Controlled asthma poses far less of an economic and emotional burden. It allows you to carry on doing the things you enjoy in life and maintains your confidence. 

Asthma can rear its head at any age. It does not discriminate in terms of your existing health and wealth either. That’s why, at Aerobit, we continue to focus on delivering positive outcomes for the UK’s asthma sufferers.