The exact causes of asthma are unknown; there is no direct chain of events that effects every single sufferer. There is some evidence that asthma is a genetic condition, as people inherit the tendency towards inflamed airways – the primary problem associated with asthma. If a child’s parents both have asthma, they are statistically more likely to suffer from the illness themselves – but this is not always the case. Similarly, a child can have asthma even if there is no genetic history of it in their family. It really does seem to be the luck of the draw.
People who suffer from asthma are more likely to have allergies, particularly to dust mites and hay fever But again, this is not a certain link: lots of people who have hay fever do not have asthma, for example, just as lots of people who have asthma do not have hay fever
There are no known substances that are thought to actively ’cause’ asthma – though certain things, such as chemicals, allergens and smoke are known to exacerbate an existing condition.
It is natural when you, or someone you know, is diagnosed with asthma to question why it has happened. Unfortunately, asthma is one of the many illnesses that simply do not have a specific and clear-cut cause for why they have occurred. Learning to accept that sometimes, quite genuinely, these things do just happen is an important part of coming to terms with their asthma diagnosis.
Finally, if you are a parent and are concerned about passing asthma on to your children, this is by no means a certainty, so try not to fret.