Banner Health
Making healthcare easier

Asthma Risk Factors and Prevention

What Causes Asthma?

There is no single known cause for asthma, but there are a few contributing factors, including:

  • Genetics
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory infections (more common in childhood asthma)
  • Environmental factors
  • Exposure to chemicals and irritants

Lifestyle-Related Asthma Risk Factors

In addition to the contributing factors, there are additional lifestyle-related risk factors for developing asthma. These include smoking, living in a highly polluted environment and obesity. To reduce your risk of developing asthma, avoid smoking and maintain a healthy weight.

What Is Asthma Control?

Asthma control refers to the daily management of your chronic asthma condition. There are three easy steps that will help you understand your asthma, how it affects your life and how to effectively and proactively manage it.

1. Track your symptoms - Write down your symptoms every day. The more frequently you are able to track your symptoms, as well as any identifiable triggers, the more insight you will have into how best to manage your asthma. In addition to any symptoms or asthma attacks you experience, also keep track of your inhaler use and how quickly it led to symptoms subsiding, any changes in the color of phlegm you cough up and any other symptoms that accompany your asthma, like runny nose and sneezing.

2. Record your lung function - There are two main ways to record your lung function. The first is called peak flow and it’s a simple, at-home test you can do yourself with a peak flow meter. The meter measures how quickly and powerfully you can expel air from your lungs. This can help you track any differences in your lung function at home. The second way to measure is with a spirometry test, which usually has to be done at your doctor’s office. This test measures how much air your lungs can hold and how much you can exhale.

3. Adjust your treatment - Tracking your symptoms and knowing your lung function allows you to see how effectively you’re managing your asthma. Well-controlled asthma is characterized by experiencing symptoms and needing to use an inhaler two days per week or fewer, as well as performing 80% or higher of your best lung function on lung function tests. If you’re not meeting those thresholds, it’s a sign to adjust your treatment plan and talk to your doctor about additional ways to avoid asthma triggers.

Understanding how to control your asthma so it doesn’t control you is a crucial first step in managing this condition. If you have any questions or concerns about your symptoms, talk to your doctor. Our doctors are here for you and offer not only expertise but also compassionate care.