What Causes Asthma?

Question:What causes asthma?

Answer: At this point, I think, no one really knows. We do have a lot of clues, but the challenge in studying asthma is that this one term "asthma" probably covers a lot of different diseases. And so when you're looking for individual causes, it can get tricky since you're studying probably causes of many different conditions. But there are some clues, things that seem to be consistent across a majority of people.

Probably the most commonly recognized are things like family history, so something about your genetics that makes it more likely that you have this disease.

A popular explanation is called the hygiene hypothesis. This relates to the idea that children today are exposed less to bacteria, to farms, to things of that sort. And because of that, the immune system develops in way which isn't healthy.

Another explanation is specific viral infections in early childhood and some damage that they may do, and people who are predisposed to developing asthma.

And then an area of increasing research and interest is obesity, and how obesity relates to not only create asthma, or something like asthma, but also makes it a harder-to-control version of asthma.


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