Asthma Basics

What Causes Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. People with asthma have airways that are hyperresponsive, meaning that the airways react to asthma triggers such as colds, cigarette smoke and exercise faster and more intensely than people whose airways are normal.

Asthma is a complex disease. Health professionals do not know for certain what causes asthma, but studies have shown that both genetics and the environment can affect your risk of getting asthma. Your family history can help you and your doctor understand what your risk may be for asthma.

  • The lining of the airways become inflamed and swell.
  • More mucus is produced, making the opening in the airways smaller.
  • The muscles around the airways tighten, also making the opening in the airways smaller.

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Asthma link



  • Wash pets once a week
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom
  • Do not allow smoking in your home or car
  • Clean damp areas, like bathrooms, often.
  • Remove objects that collect dust from the bedroom