Asthma: Causes, Symptoms, And Effective Treatment Strategies


I remember when I went to an event with a friend to sell popcorn. We had everything planned and all was going well until he started complaining of shortness of breath and chest tightness. I was confused because I hadn’t experienced such before. He later told me that he forgot to take his drug, thinking that they would be selling it around that vicinity. It was later I got to know he had asthma. We tried our best by taking him to the authorities and luckily for us, the condition subsided till the next morning.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is when your lungs start misbehaving. For instance, instead of allowing air to flow freely, it tightens and makes breathing difficult. It also ensures that you have excess mucus in the lungs, so, when you try to breathe to regain control of your breath, the narrowness creates wheezing, chest tightness, and cough.  Unfortunately, it’s a condition that can lead to death if taken for granted. This is why some people usually take with them an inhaler wherever they go to relax the muscles in their lungs and ease breathing when they start feeling the asthmatic sensation. All they have to do is just press the button that will release the fluid needed to relieve their pain. 

While asthma can affect both young and old, not all asthma is severe, some occur rarely while others are regular and even attack you at night, making it difficult to enjoy your night’s rest. So, what do you think is the cause of this condition?

Symptoms of Asthma

Causes of Asthma

Take note of these causes of asthma because some of them are preventable.

You inherited it: 

Genetics occurs when parents transfer their traits to their offspring. Sadly, we don’t just inherit our parents’ traits which can be personality traits, we can also inherit their diseases if they have one. Most children have cancers, STDs, sickle cell anemia, etc., today from their parents and asthma isn’t an exception. 

This means that if you have asthma, someone from your family must have had it too. For instance, it might be your grandparents or one of your parents. Now, that you know this, it’s left to you to decide on whether to marry an asthmatic person so that your children can have a higher risk of getting the disease or you can rather prevent it by not marrying that individual.

Unsafe environment and allergies: 

Sometimes, we are allergic to certain things we don’t know. While some people will not have problems with allergens like pollen, mold, pet dander, and pollutants like smoke, dust, and chemicals, it might trigger asthma or worsen existing symptoms in you. Therefore, when you realize that you aren’t feeling okay around these environmental factors, it’s better to stay away from them or wear a nose mask to reduce their effect. Moreover, certain respiratory infections like the common cold and flu and also trigger asthma or worsen existing symptoms. So avoid people with these illnesses so you won’t fall victim.

Early childhood exposures: 

We know that infants cannot protect themselves from tobacco smoke, respiratory infections, or allergens, so, it’s your responsibility to safeguard them from getting asthma at those times. If not, you will have yourself to blame when they develop the disease.

Symptoms of Asthma

We have already mentioned all the symptoms of asthma in the definition. Well, let’s still explain them for a better understanding. For instance, when a normal person is breathing, there’s no whistling sound also known as wheezing because they don’t have asthma. Since it’s difficult for air to pass the lungs, this sound has to force its way out.

Another symptom is shortness of breath. A normal person won’t experience this because his/her lungs aren’t swollen or irritated by things like dust, smoke, pet fur, etc. It’s like gasping for air among people and it’s hurt a lot. People around might feel like the asthmatic person is about to die. It’s not nice to be in such a situation.

Since you cannot breathe properly, your chest will feel pain and tightness because you’re struggling to release air. I remember my friend mostly complaining of this symptom when asthma attacked him. He was restless and helpless and I was very scared and sympathized with him.

Lastly, you just need to cough so that you can forcefully release that blocked air in your lungs. However, this will also increase the chest pain you’re already experiencing. This is why you should seek treatment to manage this condition.

Read More: Lung Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Treatment

Treatment of Asthma

There are various ways to treat asthma. Let’s explore them.


There are drugs made to subdue the effect of asthma such as bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids. The former also known as “rescue” or “reliever” helps to quickly relieve symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing. An example is albuterol which helps to relax the muscles in the lungs and ease breathing. On the other hand, the latter also known as “controller” or “preventer” is an anti-inflammatory drug that helps reduce inflammation (swelling and irritation of the lungs), mucus production, and airway hypersensitivity over time, offering long-term control of asthma. Moreover, you can use both bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids to better manage your condition.

Lifestyle changes

As mentioned earlier, try your best to avoid asthma triggers like allergens and irritants by using air purifiers, cleaning your environment, etc. This will save you the money that will be spent on drugs and visiting the doctor. You can also exercise because it not only burns calories, improves cardiovascular health, etc., but it also strengthens the respiratory muscles for better breathing.

Read More: How Do I Improve My Lung Health? Proven Strategies To Improve


Being an asthmatic patient can be disturbing and affect your life, relationship, and career, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be managed. Its known symptoms include wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, cough, and sleepless nights. While factors like genetics, environmental factors, and early childhood exposures can cause it, you can treat it with medications like bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids, including lifestyle changes such as avoiding allergens and irritants by maintaining a safe environment and exercising to improve lung function. Also, don’t forget to consult a doctor for more guidance on your asthmatic condition.


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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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