Asthma : Identifying Potential Triggers to Avoid | Medical Treatments


If you have asthma, your airways may narrow, swell, and produce more mucus. As a result, breathing could become difficult, and you might experience coughing, wheezing when you exhale, and shortness of breath.

Asthma is a mild condition for some people. Others may experience a serious issue that hinders daily activities and might result in a potentially fatal asthma attack.

Even though asthma cannot be cured, it may have its symptoms controlled. Since asthma frequently changes over time, it is imperative that you work with your doctor to monitor your signs and symptoms and adjust your treatment as necessary.


Although the exact cause of why some people get asthma and others do not is unknown, it is most likely a result of a mix of inherited (genetic) and environmental variables.

Various irritants and chemicals that cause allergies (allergens) can cause asthma symptoms to appear. Each person has distinct triggers for their asthma, which might include:

  • Pollen, dust mites, mould spores, pet dander, and cockroach faeces are examples of airborne allergens.
  • Respiratory system illnesses, such as the common cold
  • Physical exercise
  • Cold icy weather
  • Air irritants and contaminants, such as smoke
  • Several pharmaceuticals, such as aspirin, beta blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) and naproxen sodium, can cause stomach bleeding
  • Stress and intense feelings
  • Some types of foods and beverages, such as those that include preservatives and sulfites.
  • Acids from your stomach might reflux into your throat, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

How to check if you have Asthma?

Seek immediate assistance

A severe asthma episode may endanger your life. Determine what to do when your signs and symptoms get worse and when you require emergency care by working with your doctor. Asthma emergency warning signs include:

  •  Shortness of breath rapidly getting worse
  •  Even after taking a quick-relief inhaler, if there is no improvement
  •  Breathing problems even while not engaging in strenuous activity
  •  Consult your doctor if you often cough or wheeze for more than a few    days or if you experience any other asthma signs or symptoms.
  •  Early asthma treatment may help avoid long-term lung damage and slow the progression of the illness.
  • Good long-term management improves your day-to-day well-being and can stop a potentially fatal asthma episode.
  • Avoid taking more medicine than is recommended without first talking to your doctor. Overusing asthma medications can have negative side effects and can aggravate asthma.

Please get medical help if you have any symptoms.

Risk Factors

A variety of factors increase your risk of acquiring asthma. They consist of:

  • Having a relative with asthma, such as a parent or sibling
  • Having another allergic illness, such as hay fever, which causes runny noses, congestion, and itchy eyes, or atopic dermatitis, which produces red, itchy skin
  • Excessive weight
  • Smoking and being around secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to pollutants such as exhaust fumes or other occupational hazards such as chemicals used in manufacturing, farming, and hairdressing


Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person. They may be constant or often. 

Signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest discomfort or stiffness
  • Children with asthma frequently experience wheezing as a symptom of their illness.
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing that prevents you from falling asleep
  • Wheezing or coughing brought on by respiratory illnesses like the flu or a cold

These are signs that your asthma may be becoming worse:

  • More persistent and significant asthma signs and symptoms
  • Breathing becomes gradually more difficult, as determined by a lung function test
  • The requirement for a quick-relief inhaler

Some people experience worse symptoms if they have the following:  

  • Exercise-induced asthma, which might get worse in cold and dry weather
  • Workplace asthma brought on by irritants such chemical fumes, gases, or dust
  • Asthma brought on by allergies: brought on by airborne allergens like pollen, mould spores, cockroach waste, or skin and dried saliva shed by animals


Although there is no known method to prevent asthma, you can create a step-by-step strategy with your doctor for managing your illness and preventing asthma episodes.

Asthma action plan: Follow it. Make a thorough strategy for taking medications and handling an asthma attack with the help of your doctor and the rest of your healthcare team. Be sure to carry out your strategy.

Since asthma is a chronic disorder, it requires continual observation and care. You may feel more in control of your life if you take charge of your medical care.

Get a pneumonia and influenza vaccine. Having up-to-date immunizations helps stop the flu and pneumonia from causing flare-ups of asthma.

Find and stay away from asthma triggers. Outdoor allergens and irritants, such as pollen, mildew, cold air, and air pollution, can trigger asthma attacks. Learn the triggers that aggravate your asthma and take precautions to avoid them. 

Be aware of your breathing. You could develop the ability to spot early symptoms of an attack, such as a mild cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

Early detection and treatment of attacks You have a lower chance of experiencing a severe attack if you respond fast. Furthermore, you will not require as much medicine to manage your symptoms.

Take your medicine as directed. Even if your asthma appears to be getting better, do not switch medicines without first consulting your doctor. Bring your prescriptions with you to every doctor's appointment. Your doctor can make sure you are taking the right dosage of your drugs and utilising them properly.

Keep track of how frequently you use your inhaler for immediate relief. Your asthma is not under control if you frequently go for your albuterol or other quick-relief inhaler. Consult your doctor about modifying your medication.


Asthma presently has no known cure, however medication can help manage the symptoms so you can lead a regular, active life.

The major form of therapy is inhalers, which are tools that allow you to breathe in medication. If your asthma is severe, you could also require tablets and other therapies.

Typically, a doctor or asthma nurse will help you develop a personal action plan. This contains details on your medications, how to keep an eye on your health, and what to do in the event of an asthma attack.


Inhalers can be useful:

  • When symptoms do arise,  they can soothe them (reliever inhalers)
  • Halt the onset of symptoms (preventer inhalers)
  • Some people require an inhaler with both functions (combination inhalers).

Reliever inhalers:

Most asthmatic patients will be given a relief inhaler. Typically, they are blue.

When symptoms arise, you use a relief inhaler to address them. Within a few minutes, these ought to make your symptoms go away.

If you need to use your relief inhaler three or more times per week, let your doctor or an asthma nurse know. They could recommend extra therapy, such a preventer inhaler. Inhalers for pain relief have few adverse effects, however they can produce trembling or a rapid pulse for a few minutes after usage.

Preventer inhalers: 

You could also require a preventer inhaler if you often use a relief inhaler. Every day, you take a preventer inhaler to lessen sensitivity and irritation. If you use a preventer inhaler and still experience symptoms, consult a doctor or an asthma nurse.

Combination inhalers:

These are used on a daily basis to assist symptoms from happening and to offer effective treatment if they do. Combination inhalers have side effects that are comparable to reliever and preventer inhalers.


If using an inhaler alone is not sufficient to control your symptoms, you might additionally need to take pills.

Antibodies to leukotriene receptors (LTRAs)

The primary medications for asthma are LTRAs. They can also be found as powder and syrup. You take them each day to assist in preventing the occurrence of your symptoms. Consequences including headaches and stomach aches are possible.


In addition, theophylline may be suggested if conventional therapies are ineffective in controlling symptoms. To prevent the occurrence of your symptoms, it is taken daily. Headaches and feeling ill are examples of potential adverse effects.

Steroid pills

In the event that previous therapies are unsuccessful in controlling your symptoms, steroid pills may be advised. They may be used either way:

  • As a long-term treatment to avoid symptoms - this is often only essential if you have extremely severe asthma and inhalers do not manage your symptoms 
  • As an instant treatment when you have an asthma attack every day

Occasionally, prolonged or frequent usage of steroid pills might result in adverse consequences like:

  • A rise in appetite that results in weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Osteoporosis
  • Blood pressure is high.

Other treatments

Although they are seldom required, further treatments like injections or surgery could be suggested if none of the others are working.


Biologic therapy are medications that are injected into certain persons with severe asthma every few weeks. These may aid with symptom management.

They can only be administered by an asthma expert and are not appropriate for all asthma sufferers. The greatest adverse effect is pain at the injection site.


For people with severe asthma, a technique called bronchial thermoplasty could be recommended. It functions effectively, and there are no significant safety issues. A general anaesthetic will be used to put you to sleep or to make you drowsy before a bronchial thermoplasty. 

It entails inserting a slender, flexible tube into your lungs through your throat. The muscles around the airways are then heated to assist prevent constriction and the onset of asthma symptoms.

Complications of Asthma

Complications of asthma include:

  • Symptoms that interfere with sleep, working, or doing other things
  • Absences from work or school due to asthma attacks
  • A condition where your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs, permanently shorten, impairing your ability to breathe
  • Severe asthma episodes that need hospitalisation and emergency department visits
  • Effects of several drugs used to stabilise severe asthma after long-term usage
  • Effective asthma management can significantly reduce the risk of both immediate and long-term consequences.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 6, 2023

Next review due: Mar 6, 2025

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