Asthma research has shown that it is due to a variety of factors though they also recognize that they really are not sure what causes it. Some of the leading theories are increasing amounts of pollution, genetic mutations, hereditary genes, and other environmental and biological factors. Due to its striking affliction to many young people and almost no historical record of its existence it is likely caused by man-made stresses.
Pollution often contributed to asthma attacks, but since the industrial revolution when pollution was rampant, widespread, and unknown, pollution has been steadily decreasing in urban areas even with the increasing amount of people who are constantly polluting. There is no doubt that clean air is great for asthma sufferers but asthma research suggests that pollution alone may not be the cause.
Hygiene is thought to have an effect on asthma as well, but not in any way you would think. Increases in hygiene in the last century have prone many exposures, especially among children. It is theorized that some of those infections may have been important to developing immune systems and if they are not deal with at a young age they can come back with a vengeance at an older age. This is why children are subjected to the chicken pox at a young age. If it is contracted at an older age it can be life threatening. Allergies that may not have ever surfaced in a dirtier world can come back and cause asthma today.
Allergies may be one cause, but it is also partly psychosomatic. Many asthma sufferers have attacks that are induced by a certain state of mind such as stress or anxiety. Simply forgetting an inhaler or puffer can cause some sufferers to have an attack, but it is not caused entirely by the mind.
One of the more “out there” theories argues that weather modification techniques where microscopic particles of aluminum are released from high altitude planes are causing the sudden increase in asthma. These cloud seeding techniques have been widely used since at least 1998 which saw one of the largest increases in asthma diagnosis, especially in acute adult asthma where there are no prior symptoms. While breathing particulate metal is certainly not good for the immune system, the real problem is with the bacteria and viruses that propagate in the upper atmosphere. These have evolved without human interaction for possibly billions of years and have unknown effects on complex life forms.
It may be these bacteria and microscopic organisms that are causing the sudden increase in asthma diagnosis when the timeframe for both weather modification and asthma occurrences are compared, or it could simply be the medical community giving a name and medicine for something that has been common for a long time.
A healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants is considered to be the best way of preventing future attacks, but asthma research continues to discover new remedies and reasons everyday for this mysterious affliction which effects over 15 million people in the US alone.