8 Reasons You — or Your Child — May Be at Risk for Asthma

Some people are more at risk for asthma than others. Should you be on the lookout for symptoms of this disease in you or your children? After all, asthma now affects more than 22 million Americans.

Children with a parent who has asthma are at three to six times greater risk.

This chronic disease narrows air passages in the lungs. Asthma most often begins in childhood, but may be influenced by these eight risk factors.8 Reasons You — or Your Child — May Be at Risk for Asthma - In Content  

  1. Gender. Among children, more boys than girls have asthma. But among adults, the disease impacts more women than men. The reasons for this are uncertain.
  2. Age. Adults ages 18 to 24 are more likely to have asthma than their elders.
  3. Family history. Children with a parent who has asthma are at three to six times greater risk.
  4. Other medical conditions. Most, but not all, people with asthma also have allergies, including the allergic skin condition eczema. And those who experience viral respiratory infections in infancy or early childhood are more likely to develop asthma that lasts past the age of 6.
  5. Smoking. Cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of asthma. The smoke irritates the airways. Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy or were exposed to secondhand smoke also have an increased risk of asthma.
  6. Occupational and environmental exposure. Contact with certain chemical irritants, fumes or dust in the workplace can put you at risk of occupational asthma. Exposure to polluted air also can make you more vulnerable to asthma. So if you grew up in or now live in an urban area, you may be at greater risk.
  7. Obesity. Being overweight or obese raises the asthma risk for children and adults. The reasons are uncertain but could be related to low-grade inflammation, which often accompanies extra weight.
  8. Socioeconomic factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control:
    • Multi-race and black adults are at greater risk than white adults.
    • Black children are twice as likely as white children to have asthma.
    • Adults who didn’t finish high school are more likely to have asthma than high school or college graduates.
    • Adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or less are more likely to have asthma than higher income adults.
     
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