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7 Factors you probably didn’t know could trigger an asthma attack

Dr. Akin-Onitolo A.



What’s causing your asthma?

Being a fairly common condition, asthma is very likely something you have come across if you don’t have it yourself. It is often seen in people with a family history of allergies or asthma. It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs that affects your breathing by causing the breathing tubes to become clogged and reduce airflow in the lungs.
(1) Three things happen in asthma:

One, your breathing tubes also referred to as airways are inflamed. This means that they are constantly undergoing changes that can have disastrous effects. Inflammation makes them hyper-responsive, narrowed and deformed over time.

Two, your breathing tubes become narrow when exposed to triggers as the muscles in them start to constrict. (This is what is called broncho-constriction.)This narrowing makes breathing difficult and causes your chest to feel tight.

Three, thick mucus (catarrh) is formed in the breathing tubes and this further narrows them and worsens breathing. You may begin to cough.

(2) Your asthma symptoms worsen when you are exposed to certain things identified as triggers. They vary from person to person but common ones include:

One, allergens like dust, house dust mites, pollen, cats, weed, cockroaches;

Two, colds and generally respiratory tract infections;

Three, cold or dry weather, extreme temperatures;

Four, irritants like strong odors from perfumes, cigarette smoke or smoke from candles or fires;

Five, strong emotions such as when you are laughing hard, crying or anxious about something;

Six, exercise especially when in cold and dry environments;

Seven, some pain medications including aspirin and others in its class.

A very important part of managing and effectively controlling your asthma is identifying your specific triggers and avoiding them.

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Dr. Akin-onitolo A. is a graduate of the University of Lagos whose mission is to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) using health promotion and improved health literacy. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who had her elective at King's College London. Hugely interested in travel, meeting people and generally being creative, reading and writing fiction are a few hobbies you could find her engaged in during her spare time. Catch up with her on Twitter @Akinonitolo and Instagram @t_onitolo