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March 1, 2010 at 9:24 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What Are The Risk Factors Of Asthma

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

A "risk factor" is a particular characteristic that a person might have that increases their chance of developing a certain condition. It is possible to develop the condition without any risk factors. However, the more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop the condition.

There are several proven risk factors for asthma. Below you will find information describing each of these risk factors and advice on how to avoid them.

Genetics

  • Asthma tends to run in families. This means that if several people in your family have asthma, you are more likely to get it.
  • A person with a parent who has asthma is 3 to 6 times more likely to develop asthma than someone without a family history.
  • Up to 3 out of every 5 asthma cases are hereditary.
  • There is not much you can do about your genes. However, if you know you may be more likely to develop asthma, you can take the proper steps to minimize other risk factors.

Allergies

  • People with allergies are more likely to be asthmatic.
  • Like your genes, there is not much you can do about allergies. Try to avoid allergens as much as possible.

Atopy

  • Atopy is a condition that refers to allergic hypersensitivity in parts of the body that do not normally come into contact with allergens. This includes eczema, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis.
  • 40 to 50% of children with one of these conditions develops asthma.
  • During adulthood, people who had eczema as a child may have more severe and persistent asthma.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions may increase your chances of developing asthma:

  • Childhood respiratory infections
  • Being overweight or obese. Studies show that people who are overweight (BMI between 25 ad 30) are 38% more likely to be asthmatic. Studies also show that people who are obese, with a BMI exceeding 30, are 50% more
  • Low birth weight
  • GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Pulmonary embolism

Age

Over 50% of people who develop asthma developed it between the ages of 2 and 17.

Exposure to potential allergens

Exposure to some allergens may make a person more likely to develop asthma.

  • Cigarette smoke is extremely dangerous for babies in utero and babies under 12 months old. Do NOT smoke while pregnant or around your children.
  • Harsh chemicals
  • Air pollution

Gender

  • During childhood, asthma is slightly more common in boys. However, by adulthood, the ratio is equal.
  • By age 40, the ratio is reversed: asthma is more prevalent among females than males.

Ethnicity

  • Asthma affects people of all different backgrounds.
  • However, African Americans and Hispanics are slightly more prone to asthma than Caucasians.

If you are at risk for asthma or if you think you might have asthma, talk to your health practitioner. There are many treatments available for asthma.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/asthma/asthma-risk-factors

http://healthgate.partners.org/browsing/browseContent.asp?fileName=19115.xml&title=Risk%20Factors%20for%20Asthma

Photo Credit: Dottie Mae

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