If you are a parent who suffers from asthma, you might be concerned about passing it along to your children. Even though asthma is not contagious (spread through physical contact), it can be passed down through families via hereditary asthma.
Do Genetics Affect Asthma?
The gene pool is a complex topic that no one in the world can fully understand. However, a study by the European Clinical Respiratory Journal shows that 70% of an individual’s risk of developing asthma comes from genetics. Asthma is indeed hereditary, and children with one or both parents who suffer from asthma have a greater chance of suffering from it as well.
While there is nothing to be done to stop the genetic spread of asthma, parents can know the risk by researching family health history. After all, genetics extends to more people than just parents. A child may develop asthma from a grandparent or great-grandparent (that is, further down the gene pool). Even if the parent doesn’t suffer from asthma, a child may inherit it from someone else.
Whether hereditary or not, proper asthma maintenance is important for the health and safety of any asthmatic. It is also important to remember that genetics are primarily responsible for childhood asthma, not adult-onset asthma. Adult-onset asthma generally occurs due to allergens, anxiety, or an unhealthy BMI.
Can You Prevent Hereditary Asthma?
Unfortunately, no cure for hereditary asthma (or any other type of asthma) exists. There is also no way to prevent it. However, you can stay a step ahead of your asthma by carefully maintaining it. The best ways to control your asthma include the following.
1. Develop an asthma attack action plan.
An asthma attack action plan is a written plan that tracks important symptoms, triggers, and data. It tells you how to respond in an emergency, what medications to take, etc.
2. Communicate with your doctor.
Depending on the severity of your asthma, you may need to communicate with your doctor more or less than other asthmatics. However, regardless of severity, update your doctor with any new data logged on your asthma attack action plan.
3. Know your triggers and your treatments.
Do your best to spot similarities between attacks, and then avoid those triggers at all costs. Keep an eye on the weather, avoid environments with bad air quality, and do not overexert yourself physically. Your health is the most important thing.
4. Take lung tests regularly.
Lung tests help you understand how well your lungs are functioning, how much air you can inhale and exhale, and the overall state of your hereditary asthma.
Tests such as these provide valuable information as you can mark your progress after each test. This will let you see if your lungs are getting stronger or weaker over time. Ask your doctor for help finding a spirometry test you can take from home.
Other Causes or Contributors to Asthma Symptoms
While asthma is primarily spread through the gene pool, hereditary asthma is not the only cause. Consider adult-onset asthma, for instance.
Types of asthma vary, and symptoms can occur after exposure to any of the following asthma triggers.
Additionally, while genetics make up 70% of a child’s asthma risk factor, other risk factors include these items:
- Unhealthy Bodyweight
- Frequent Smoke Exposure (smoking, vaping, etc.)
- Regular Ingestion of Fumes and Chemicals
- Poor Air Quality (indoor or outdoor)
Above All, Remember that It Isn’t Your Fault!
Hereditary diseases are perhaps some of the most guilt-inducing. It can be tempting for parents who suffer from asthma to feel guilty about “passing it on” to their child. Your genetics are in no way your fault, and neither is your child’s asthma. While asthma can sometimes be difficult for a child to deal with, it is ultimately the unique genes, personalities, and characteristics of individuals that make them who they are.
Instead of feeling guilty about what you can’t control, encourage your child to overcome their condition by taking proper asthma maintenance steps. If both of you suffer from asthma, make a point to study it, and learn from it together.