Triggers and Causes of Asthma-Not the Same Thing

Daily management of the disease has become an important routine of everyday life for asthma patients. Careful attention to the causes and triggers of the asthma can control the disease.

The “trigger factors”, or “triggers” of asthma are used to describe the things that can cause an attack in someone who already has asthma. It is something that sets off an attack but which does not make a patient asthmatic in the first place.

“cause” is something without which an effect (such as asthma) will not happen. That is, a cause is something without which the patient would not be asthmatic. There may be more than one cause for an asthma attack.
However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding these terms.
“Triggering an attack” is if a patient has an allergy to cats, dogs, pollen, mold in wallpaper or house dust mites.

By demoting causes and calling them triggers, makes people think they are not so important and that maybe they should just keep using their inhalers instead of making efforts to root out the causes of their asthma and remove these from their environment.
For example, if you don’t have asthma, or your asthma is well controlled, then a cold will not give you any of the symptoms of asthma. So in this sense, it is fair to call the cold a “trigger factor” for asthmatics.

But if an asthmatic has an attack whenever they go near dogs, when dogs have been the cause of asthma (for instance some feel that the reason they have asthma is because of dogs) , going near a dog can trigger an attack. In other words, a dog can be a cause of asthma ‘and’ also a trigger of an attack.

Concentrating only on the triggering of the attacks misses the really important point in the first place is that contact with dogs was a cause of the asthma.
Asthma sufferers will want to avoid both causes and triggers of asthma, but the causes are more serious nature. If there was no cause and the asthma did not exist, the triggers would do absolutely no harm.

Asthma – triggers vs causes 

It is important to distinguish between causes and trigger of the disease.
A trigger for asthma is something which sets off an attack but which in the first place does not make you asthmatic,

A cause of asthma is something without which an effect (such as asthma) would not be happening. That is a cause is something without which you would not be asthmatic.