Asthma Attack Cause - Theories and Common Triggers

What is a typical asthma attack cause?

Asthma, a condition affecting exhalation rather than inhalation, can be triggered by many different factors.

During an attack, the individual reacts in a hyper-responsive way to an irritant, which has usually been inhaled. The constricted airways trap air and prevent the asthmatic from exhaling the air already in their lungs. The trapped air blocks fresh air from entering the lungs.

In addition, a build up of mucous in the airways further reduces the capacity for the airways to operate efficiently. The choking and panicked sensation that accompanies an attack can lead to mounting stress and rapid shallow breathing that worsen the attack.

The number of people diagnosed with asthma each year has been on the rise, which has lead to more intensive research on the subject, including on asthma attack causes. Some researches suspect that the immune and nervous system may work together against the respiratory system to trigger an attack, especially in patients with bronchial asthma.

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A note about Asthma Attack Cause - Theories and Common Triggers

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In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Beta Blocker Theory

Theories about asthma attack causes include the beta blocker theory, which holds that in the asthmatic lung, the delicate balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems has been slightly tipped in favor of the parasympathetic system. This system signals the bronchial tubes to react by tightening or constricting, overwhelming the sympathetic nervous system’s signals to try and relax or open the bronchial tubes.

Furthermore, some asthmatics appear to have abnormal beta receptors. Beta receptors, important sympathetic neurotransmitter receptors, normally relax the bronchial muscles and lessen mucous production. Some people with asthma have blocked beta receptors, hence the theory’s name.

Immune System Allergy Theory

Another possible cause of asthma attack is the more commonly known immune system allergy theory, which holds that asthmatics have a sensitized response to the normal presence or overproduction of immunoglobulin E (IgE). This inherited condition can cause an overreaction by the immune system to routine substances, causing an asthma attack. However, this theory accounts for only 30 percent of sufferers, as a possible asthma attack cause for them.

Triggers, Types, Causes

Asthma symptoms begin when an irritant begins to bother the lungs. Triggers vary between individuals, and the severity of symptoms may change depending upon other factors in the environment.

Asthma may be classified into several different types, depending upon its triggers and symptom presentation, including extrinsic, intrinsic, nocturnal, seasonal, exercise-induced, intermittent and chronic.

Common asthma attack causes include certain foods or food additives, such as eggs, wheat and soy, or sulfites and tartrazine (Yellow #5), certain medications such as aspirin, molds, pollens, latex, and dust mites. Other irritants in the environment may exacerbate the condition, and include: smoke, perfumes, household or work-related chemicals, weather conditions, respiratory infections and even short bursts of high intensity exercise (like sprinting). Many people that have asthma (approximately 80% of children in one study) also have allergies.

Recent findings have also shown that increased stress and anxiety can bring on an attack, and in fact, before the development of the modern understanding of asthma, many believed that an asthma attack represented the body’s way of communicating intense emotions. However, the medical community now agrees asthma may be exacerbated by underlying mental conditions and strong emotions, but that mental illnesses do not actually cause asthma.

The individual asthmatic should evaluate his or her personal triggers to see whether the expression of certain emotions do in fact bring on an attack, such as bouts of fear or anxiety, in which case these underlying feelings should be dealt with in order to reduce the incidence of asthma. Stress reduction techniques may prove beneficial in this respect, in dealing with this possible asthma attack cause.

Many people also find that symptoms increase or decrease based on the time of day. Often, asthma worsens during the night or in the first hours of the morning upon awakening. The reasons for this phenomenon may include the presence of dust mites or other irritants in the bedding, or levels of certain corticosteroid hormones which may reach their lowest levels between midnight and 6a.m. The corticosteroids aid in keeping airways open. Reduced adrenal function can also reduce levels of corticosteroids and epinephrine.

Fluctuating temperature trigger attacks for some people, especially if the night has become drastically cooler. Approximately half the people diagnosed with asthma experience delayed reactions when dealing with irritants, sometimes as much as four to six hours after the initial encounter, which may then mean that the attack occurs at night.

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