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Risk factors for asthma

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Risk factors for development and expression of asthma can be:

  • host factors
    • genetics – genes which predispose to atopy, airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation
    • obesity – prevalence and incidence of asthma is increased in obese people BMI >30 kg/m2
    • sex – during childhood, boys have a higher risk of getting asthma while in adulthood the prevalence of asthma is greater in women than in men

  • environmental factors
    • allergens
      • indoor – domestic mites, furred animals (dogs, cats, mice), cockroaches, fungi, molds, yeasts
      • outdoor – pollen, molds
    • occupation sensitizers and allergens e.g. – flour, laboratory rodents, paints
    • infections – majority viral
    • microbiome
    • exposure to tobacco smoke – passive and active smoking
    • outdoor and indoor air pollution
    • diet
    • paracetamol
    • stress (1)


  1. Global Initiative For Asthma (GINA) 2023. Global strategy for asthma management and prevention

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