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Is Asthma Genetic?

May 8, 2023

It’s in our nature to look for family members or genetic traits to blame when we are trying to figure out what is wrong with our health. We’ve known for a long time that asthma runs in families. From a scientific point of view, there is an “increased risk” that children of people with asthma will also have asthma.

As you might also guess, this risk decreases as the distance between the two people grows. For example, you are less likely to have asthma if your uncle has it than if your parents do. Also, the worse off your family member is, the more likely it is that you will be too.

Your Risk of Having Asthma

Even though the relative genetic risk is understood, asthma is not easily predicted because it is not caused by a single mutation in one gene. Many factors contribute to the development of asthma, genetic and environmental.

No family history5%
Half sibling10%
Full sibling25%
One Parent25%
Fraternal Twin35%
Both Parents50%
Identical Twin75%

Environmental Triggers

Many things in the environment can trigger an asthma attack. Some of the top culprits include allergens like pollen, mold, animal dander, dust mites and some chemicals. Smoke, dust, and fumes from cars or pools can also trigger asthma. The degree to which these factors affect your asthma depends on your exposure and your sensitivity. 

Girl next to a soccer ball tying her shoes with soccer training uniform

Exercise-Induced Asthma

You may only experience asthma symptoms when exercising. Your airways become tight and inflamed and it is difficult to breathe. This condition has been separated from asthma and is now called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). If you have asthma it is extremely likely (90%) that you will also have EIB. However, you can have EIB and not have asthma.

Getting treatment for asthma

AllerVie Health has allergists in many locations across the country that can diagnose asthma in children and asthma in adults. They will take care to understand your symptoms, your family history, your environment and activities that may contribute to your condition.

Allergy specialist John Anderson, MD
Medically Reviewed By: John Anderson, MD
Reviewed on: March 6, 2023

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