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What Is Allergic Asthma?

Allergic asthma is triggered by specific allergens.
It is not uncommon for asthma sufferers to also fall victim to certain allergies.
An asthma inhaler.
An illustration of the pathology of asthma.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2014
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Asthma is a common condition characterized by periodic breathing difficulties. These breathing difficulties are caused by the improper passage of air from the windpipe to the lungs. Allergic asthma, also known as allergy induced asthma, refers to such a condition triggered by specific allergens.

The structures responsible for connecting the windpipe to the lungs are known as the bronchi. An asthma attack is an episode where a person is experiencing breathing difficulty. This results when air cannot properly pass through the bronchi to the other structures that saturate the lungs with air. Such conditions are normally divided into two categories: allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma.

Allergic asthma is believed to be the more common of the two types. This type of asthma involves attacks induced by triggers. Those triggers, or allergens, are usually common items that do not create breathing problems for individuals without asthma. These may include mold spores, pollen, or paint fumes.

Allergens affect people who are asthmatic because these items tend to travel with air into the windpipe. An asthmatic person’s body is extremely sensitive to these items and quickly acts to provide defense. Those defense mechanisms can include tightening of the muscles, swelling, and increased production of mucous. All of these reactions can result in obstruction of the bronchi and prevent the passage of sufficient quantities of air.

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When a person has an asthma attack, she may begin coughing and wheezing. She may begin taking rapid breaths in desperate attempt to get air. It is also likely that her chest will feel tight. Allergic asthma is considered incurable, yet manageable.

An asthma attack is commonly treated with self-administered medication. Often people with these conditions rely heavily on inhalers, which may be filled with over-the-counter or prescription medications. A person may also need to take allergy medication, which can also be over-the-counter or distributed by prescription. Some asthma attacks, however, can be severe and may require a person to seek emergency treatment.

Another way to manage allergic asthma is by avoiding triggers. For example, a person who knows her attacks are triggered by fumes would not be advised to be a painter or to walk into a room where paint is drying. In some instances, however, a person does not know what her allergies are. Tests by a medical professional can help to determine them.

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fBoyle
Post 3

We're moving out of our house because of my daughter's allergic asthma. She's allergic to mold spores and we have a mold problem in the house we can't get rid of. We've had the house professionally cleaned several times but my daughter continues to have asthma attacks. She tested positive for mold allergies. And she doesn't get asthma attacks at schools so we're certain that we've got an issue in the house. Our only option at this point is to move elsewhere. I can't allow my doctor to have chronic asthma because of this. So we are going to do what's best for her. Allergic asthma can be so debilitating, and I can't bear to see children plagued with it.

bear78
Post 2

@burcinc-- There can be different causes for non-allergic asthma like infection or too much exposure to cold air. My doctor had mentioned a few others but I can't remember right now.

I had asthma caused by infection once. Just as allergens cause bronchi to become inflamed, an upper respiratory infection can do so too. It can irritate bronchi, cause it to swell and become inflamed enough to restrict breathing. But unlike allergic asthma, once the infection is gone, the asthma is usually gone too and won't come back unless there is another infection. Allergic asthma tends to be more chronic and I believe it is far more common than non-allergic asthma.

burcinc
Post 1

I have allergic asthma and I thought until now that all asthma was caused by allergies. I had no idea that there is also a category known as non-allergic asthma. What causes asthma in those cases?

My asthma is caused by allergies to fumes and chemicals like cigarette smoke, strong fragrances and also dust. These make me cough and wheeze right away.

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