asthma is a breathing condition where the airways you breathe through tighten when you inhale an allergen. Common allergens include pollen, dander and mold spores. This type of asthma is very common in both children and adults. Symptoms of allergic it can include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes and a rash.
The same allergens that give some people sneezing fits and watery eyes can cause an asthma attack in others. Allergic is the most common type of asthma. About 90% of kids with childhood asthma have allergies, compared with about 50% of adults with asthma. The symptoms that go along with allergic show up after you breathe things called allergens (or allergy triggers) like pollen, dust mites, or mold. If you have (allergic or non-allergic), it usually gets worse after you exercise in cold air or after breathing smoke, dust, or fumes. Sometimes even a strong smell can set it off.
Because allergens are everywhere, it’s important that people with allergic know their triggers and learn how to prevent an attack.
What Is an Allergy?
Your immune system’s job is to protect you from bacteria and viruses. If you have allergies, though, part of your immune system works too hard. It may attack harmless substances — like cat dander or pollen — in your nose, lungs, eyes, and under your skin.
What is allergic asthma?
For many people, allergies play a large part in their life. Allergies can affect what you eat, products you use, and even the way you breathe. When allergies combine with a breathing condition call asthma, it’s call allergic asthma. A type of , allergic it is a condition where your airways tighten when you breathe in an allergen. This can be something in the air — often pollen, dander or mold spores. Allergens are also call triggers because they set off your asthma. Things that could cause you to have a reaction, might not affect other people.
When you have allergies your body creates a response to something it thinks is a threat — the allergen. It fires up all of its defenses to try and fight off danger. This is done by your immune system. Your immune system typically works to protect you from disease. When your immune system thinks that there’s danger, it releases a chemical called immunoglobulin E (IgE). This substance is meant to fight back and protect your body. However, high amounts of IgE can cause your airways to tighten, making it difficult to breathe.
Asthma is a disease of the lungs that causes your airways to:
- Become swollen or irritated (called inflammation) specifically in the airway linings.
- Produce large amounts of mucus that is thicker than normal.
- Narrow because the muscles around the airways tighten.
How common is allergic asthma?
Many people with asthma actually have allergic. It’s the most common type of asthma. In the United States, about 25 million people have asthma. Out of that group, approximately 60% have asthma that’s caused by allergies.
Common Causes for Allergic Asthma
Allergens, small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs, include:
- Windblown pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
- Mold spores and fragments
- Animal dander (from hair, skin, or feathers) and saliva
- Dust mite feces
- Cockroach feces
Keep in mind that allergens aren’t the only thing that can make your allergic worse. Irritants may still trigger an asthma attack, even though they don’t cause an allergic reaction. These include:
- Smoke from tobacco, a fireplace, candles, incense, or fireworks
- Air pollution
- Cold air
- Exercise in cold air
- Strong chemical odors or fumes
- Perfumes, air fresheners, or other scented products
- Dusty rooms
Your doctor can test you to see what causes your allergic. The two most common (and recommended) methods are:
- Pricking your skin with a tiny amount of the allergen and measuring the size of the red bumps 20 minutes later
- A blood test known as a specific IgE or sIgE test
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
What causes allergic asthma?
The cause of asthma isn’t known. However, for those with allergic, the reason symptoms start is related to allergens. This is the main difference between allergic and other types of asthma — allergens are inhaled and triggersymptoms. When you experience severe symptoms, it’s called an asthma attack.
What are common allergens that can trigger allergic asthma?
Allergens can be found all around you. These can be in your indoor and outdoor environments. When you have allergic, inhaling these allergens can set off (trigger) your symptoms. It’s important to know what can trigger your so that you can control your condition.
Possible allergens that can trigger allergic can include:
Dander: This is skin flakes and it’s usually from pets. Hair is often group with dander as a common allergen.
Pollen: A powdery substances, pollen comes from plants. The most common types of pollen that trigger allergic are grass and weeds.
Mold: Typically found in places that hold moisture (basements), mold produces spores that get into the air and can trigger your asthma.
Dust mites: Very small and shaped like spiders, dust mites live in the soft surfaces of your home (carpets, soft furniture coverings and clothes). They eat skin flakes that you naturally shed all of the time. Both the mites themselves and their feces are allergens.
Cockroaches: These pests can be found in many homes and other buildings. Your asthma can be triggered by the feces, saliva and other body parts of the cockroaches.
Some people suffer from seasonal allergies. These are allergies that flare up at a certain time of year. This is often connected to spring because of the blooming of many plants. During this time of year, there is more pollen in the air than other seasons (fall or winter).
What are the symptoms of allergic asthma?
If you have allergic, you may have many of the same symptoms you would experience with other types of asthma. These symptoms can include:
- Feeling short of breath.
- Coughing frequently, especially at night.
- Wheezing (a whistling noise during breathing).
- Experiencing chest tightness (feels like something is pressing or squeezing your chest).
These symptoms can be very intense during an asthma attack. Make sure you have a treatment plan in place if you have severe asthma symptoms — this plan often includes an inhaler (sometimes referred to as a rescue inhaler).
You can also experience symptoms more closely related to allergies. These are usually less intense than asthma symptoms and can happen when you’re expose to an allergen. These symptoms can include:
- A stuffy nose.
- Itchy or running eyes.
- A rash and hives.
Treatment and Medication Options for Asthma
There is no cure for asthma, but you can alleviate and prevent your symptoms through quick-relief and long-term control medication. Long-term control medication works to reduce inflammation to make your airways less sensitive to asthma triggers. It’s usually taken daily through an inhaler or as an oral pill. Quick-relief medicines help to relieve symptoms when they happen, relaxing the tight muscles around your airways and easing the flow of air.
The update NAEPP asthma management guidelines recommend using one inhaler containing an asthma medication that combines an inflammation-reducing corticosteroid plus the drug formoterol to open airways for children age 12 and older — teens and adults whose moderate to severe persistent asthma is not well control with their current medication. This combination therapy is call single maintenance and reliever therapy (SMART).
The updated guidelines also recommend a type of drug called a long-acting muscarinic antagonist to improve symptoms for these age groups. And for young children (up to age 4) who wheeze only when they have a respiratory tract infection (regardless of whether or not they’ve been diagnose with asthma), the new guidelines recommend a short course of inhaled corticosteroids plus a rescue inhaler as needed. This can prevent worsening of breathing problems and forestall the need for corticosteroid pills.
Most asthma medications are breath in through the use of an inhaler or nebulizer. There are two main types of inhalers; a metered dose inhaler (MDI), which uses a pressurized medicine-filled canister, and a dry powder inhaler (DPI), containing medicine in powdered form. A nebulizer uses a mask and delivers medication as a mist. It’s important to learn the different techniques for using these devices to ensure the medicine reaches your lungs.
There are few evidence-backed natural remedies for asthma, particularly if your case is severe. But lifestyle changes, like controlling stress, and some complementary therapies, like acupuncture, may help manage symptoms.
If your asthma is trigger by allergies, doing all you can to reduce your exposure to your trigger allergen — such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, or cockroaches and rodents — may help. Allergy shots may help, too.