ZocdocAnswersWhat causes asthma?

Question

What causes asthma?

Are you born with asthma or do you develop it. I've been having problems with my breathing and I think I might have it. I'm 29 though and never had it when I was a kid.

Answer

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that is caused by airway hypersensitivity and inflammation. Typically it is thought of as a condition that develops as a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While children are not technically born with asthma, they may develop it at very young ages. Some children that develop asthma may outgrow their symptoms with age, and some children without asthma may go on to develop symptoms in early adulthood. Asthma symptoms (such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing) may be triggered by a variety of conditions, such as exposure to allergens (eg, dust mites or dander), cold air, or exercise. If you are having any difficulty with your breathing, you should seek out the guidance of your primary care physician. Your doctor can run spirometry tests on you, which are breathing exercises that can measure the amount of resistance and obstruction in your airways. The response to medications used to dilate the airways can also be measured, which can help make the diagnosis of asthma. Depending on the results of these tests and the frequency of asthma symptoms, asthma can be controlled by a variety of medications ranging from short-acting bronchodilators to daily inhaled steroids and other more advanced options.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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