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Asthma Triggers - Forrest Health
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    Asthma Triggers

    Topic Overview

    An asthma trigger is a factor that can lead to sudden difficulty breathing or other symptoms of asthma (asthma attack).

    Some triggers are substances a person may be allergic to (allergens). Allergens cause the body's natural defenses (immune system) to produce chemicals called immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These chemicals bind to allergens, causing inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs. The allergen may also cause asthma attacks. These triggers include:

    Other triggers can cause asthma symptoms without affecting the body's immune system. These include:

    • Cigarette smoke and air pollution.
    • Viral infections, such as colds and influenza, and sinus and other upper respiratory infections.
    • Exercise. Many people with asthma have symptoms when they exercise.
    • Dry, cold air.
    • Medicines, such as aspirin or beta-blockers.
    • In adults, hormones, including those involved in pregnancy and menstrual periods (just before or during periods).
    • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). GERD may make asthma worse for some people.

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    References

    Other Works Consulted

    • Guarnieri M, Balmes JR (2014). Outdoor air pollution and asthma. Lancet, 383(9928): 1581–1592. DOI 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60617-6. Accessed May 6, 2014.

    Credits

    Current as of: June 9, 2019

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review: John Pope MD - Pediatrics
    E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
    Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
    Mary F. McNaughton Collins MD, MPH - Internal Medicine


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