What is the Main Cause of Asthma?

May 18, 2022

Asthma often occurs in small children but sometimes does not develop until adulthood. When symptoms occur, the immune system views things like pollen, smoke, or dust mites as foreign substances and releases chemicals to fight them. These chemicals cause an asthma attack. Asthma attacks can cause wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

Learn how to properly identify your asthma triggers and create a plan to manage them! Visit AFC Urgent Care Waltham today to get started.


Main Causes of Asthma

Not everyone with asthma will have the same triggers, and patients don’t need to suffer from all of the triggers. It only takes one to cause an asthma attack. Here are the most common asthma triggers:

  • Outdoors allergens, such as tree, grass, or weed pollens
  • Indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold
  • Smoke, chemical fumes, or strong odors
  • Exercise
  • Cold air or dry air
  • Windy or wet weather
  • Certain drugs
  • Stress


Cold & Flu

Less commonly, asthma can be caused by other things. Acute asthma attacks can occur if a patient is sick with a cold or flu. Those who suffer from heartburn can also suffer from asthma. 


Drugs & Foods

Beta-blockers can cause bronchospasm, which is when the airway begins tightening. Beta-blockers are often prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraines, and angina.

Very rarely sulfites in foods can cause asthma attacks. Sulfites are commonly found in frozen potatoes and some beers and wines.


When to See a Doctor

It’s important to note that asthma attacks can be severe and life-threatening. Patients should understand when to seek emergency medical care. Some emergency signs of an asthma attack include:

  • Worsening shortness of breath or wheezing
  • No improvement after using an inhaler
  • Shortness of breath during minimal physical activity

If you suspect you may have asthma or you notice your symptoms getting worse, it’s important to be seen by a doctor. The providers at AFC Waltham can help diagnose your symptoms and provide recommendations for treatment. Certain steps can be taken to reduce attacks and lessen symptoms after speaking with a medical professional. 



There is no way to truly prevent asthma. However, patients can determine plans with their doctors to prevent attacks and to live with the condition. Some common practices may include:

  • Getting vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia
  • Identify and avoid asthma triggers
  • Treat attacks early
  • Monitor breathing
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Follow your asthma action plan

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