Yes, asthma can be inherited, but that isn’t always the case. What’s passed down is a higher tendency towards developing asthma. If one or both parents have asthma, a child’s likelihood of developing asthma is greater, but it’s not guaranteed that they will get it.
How Is Asthma Inherited?
Like other diseases, asthma likely results from both a tendency present in the genes and exposure to environmental factors, such as smoke, pollution or other airborne particles. According to a CDC report, a child with one parent who has asthma is three to six times more likely to develop asthma. If both parents have asthma, a child has a 70% chance of developing it.
Like other diseases, asthma likely results from both a tendency present in the genes and exposure to environmental factors.
Genetic Factors of Asthma
More than a hundred different genes have been linked to asthma and small changes in those genes can increase a person’s chance of getting asthma. It’s important to note that a person can have versions of the genes associated with asthma and still not get asthma. These are some of the genes that are tied to the genetic causes of asthma:
- ADAM33. This gene influences lung development in early life and can affect how people exhale and breathe. Changes in this gene have been linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases.
- IL-4. This gene stimulates the production of IgE antibodies, which are produced by the immune system as a response to allergens, causing allergic reactions.
- TGFβ-1. This gene affects inflammation and changes in this particular gene are associated with an increased risk of getting asthma. Other versions of this gene can be slightly protective against asthma.
Because environmental factors are also a large factor in whether or not you’ll develop asthma, it’s not possible to rely solely on genetic factors.
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Environmental Factors of Asthma
Many of the things we come into contact with every day can lead to asthma. Some of these asthma triggers include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Fumes from household cleaners
- Fumes from paint
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrogen oxide
- Cold temperatures
- High humidity
Gas stoves are the primary source of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause wheezing, breathlessness, asthma attacks, and hay fever more often than in households that use other methods to cook.
Cigarette smoking is linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, especially in adolescents. Second-hand smoke is also linked to asthma development early in life.
Asthma Treatment at Baptist Health
If you’re experiencing asthma symptoms, seek treatment at Baptist Health.