• Question: What causes asthma?

    Asked by Achievers. to Jay Oty, Mel, Priscilla on 3 Oct 2014.
    • Photo: Priscilla Ngotho

      Priscilla Ngotho answered on 3 Oct 2014:

      Hi Achievers.

      Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the muscles that line the airways that carry air to the lungs. Inflammation is triggered by pollutants or natural particles in the air, leading to an asthma attack. This is when the muscles of the airways have swollen restricting passage of air. When this happens a person has difficulty breathing and they make wheezing noises when they try to breath.

      Both environment and genetics play are role in determining whether a person gets asthma. If a child is exposed to allergens like cat fur, certain carpets, etc they are more likely to develop asthma. In terms of genetics, there is a higher risk for people who have a family member (e.g. parent, grandparent) with asthma.

      There are many asthmatics in Kenya and the number appears to be growing. People speculate the causes of this increase to be increase in pollution. I don’t really know. I have a sister who has asthma. Once in a while she gets very bad attacks and has to be hospitalised. But mostly she lives a normal life because she has learnt how to manage the disease properly.