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Asthma symptoms include a cough, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.

Asthma symptoms include a cough, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.
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What causes asthma?

2-minute read

Factors that are known to increase the likelihood of developing asthma include:

  • a family history of asthma or other related allergic conditions (known as 'atopic conditions'), such as eczema, food allergy or hay fever
  • developing another atopic condition
  • being exposed to tobacco smoke as a child, particularly if your mother smoked during pregnancy
  • having bronchiolitis (a lung infection) as a child
  • being born prematurely (especially if you needed a ventilator)
  • being born with a low birth weight (less than 2kg)
  • being exposed to indoor and outdoor pollution (including moulds, gases, chemicals, particles and cigarette smoke)

The symptoms of asthma can have a range of triggers:

  • infections of the airways and chest
  • allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, animal fur or feathers
  • airborne irritants, such as cigarette smoke, chemical fumes and pollution
  • some painkillers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • emotional factors, such as stress or laughing
  • foods containing sulphites, such as concentrated fruit juice, jam, prawns and many processed or pre-cooked meals
  • weather conditions, such as sudden change in temperature, cold air, windy days, poor air quality and hot, humid days
  • indoor conditions, such as mould or damp, house dust mites and chemicals in carpets and flooring materials
  • exposure to some chemicals at work
  • exercise, especially while breathing air that is polluted, cold or dry

Last reviewed: June 2018

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An overview of asthma: Causes, symptoms, medications, support | myVMC

Asthma is a common respiratory condition often caused by allergies. There are many risk factors, tests for diagnosing and medications for treating asthma.

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Causes of asthma in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Asthma is when a childs airway passages are narrowed, which means the child doesnt get enough air into and out of her lungs. Read about causes of asthma.

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Who gets severe asthma? - An Asthma Australia site

We dont know exactly why some people develop severe asthma, but it is likely to be caused by several factors. Asthma is more likely to become severe in people with asthma who are older, or who are smokers. Sometimes asthma becomes more severe after a respiratory infection. Sometimes the reason is not known.

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Introduction to Severe Asthma - An Asthma Australia site

Severe asthma is when your asthma symptoms are frequent, or you experience ongoing asthma flare-ups, even when you take your medication correctly and as prescribed, and when other causes and triggers for your symptoms have been ruled out.

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Asthma | Nutrition Australia

What is asthma? Asthma is a condition which occurs when the airways become inflamed and narrow, making it hard to breathe. It can cause episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing, particularly in the early morning and evening.

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Asthma and allergy - Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

Allergy plays an important role in asthma, as one of the major factors associated with the cause and persistence of asthma. Around 8 in 10 people with asthma have positive allergy test results.

Read more on ASCIA – Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website

How is severe asthma different from other types of asthma? - An Asthma Australia site

Most people with asthma experience mild-moderate symptoms and respond well to commonly prescribed medication. However, some continue to have uncontrolled asthma and are at high risk of flare-ups despite being prescribed high doses of preventer medication. This is called difficult to treat asthma.

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Homeopathy for chronic asthma | Cochrane

Homeopathy is a complementary healing system based on "curing like with like". It involves greatly diluting substances (potentising) which ordinarily may or may not cause symptoms, in order to strengthen the body's own healing response to a problem. Homeopathic remedies (potencies) aim to minimise the risk of adverse effects. There are different types that may be used for asthma, such as classical homeopathy (tailored to an individual's symptoms) or isopathy (for example using a dilution of an agent that causes an allergy, such as pollen). The review of trials found that the type of homeopathy varied between the studies, that the study designs used in the trials were varied and that no strong evidence existed that usual forms of homeopathy for asthma are effective. There has been only a limited attempt to measure a 'package of care' effect (i.e., the effect of the medication as well as the consultation, which is considered a vital part of individualised homeopathic practice). Until stronger evidence exists for the use of homeopathy in the treatment of asthma, we are unable to make recommendations about homeopathic treatment.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Asmol CFC-free Inhaler | myVMC

Asmol CFC-free Inhaler is a treatment for asthma, and other conditions that cause reversible airway obstruction. It contains salbutamol sulfate.

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Asthma in children

Find out more about the signs and symptoms of asthma, aids and tips to help you care for your child and what to do if your child has an asthma attack.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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