List of Diseases > Allergic Asthma

Allergic Asthma
Allergic 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 asthma can include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes and a rash.

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 called asthma, it’s called allergic asthma. A type of asthma, allergic asthma 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 called 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 asthma. 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.
Symptoms and Causes

What causes allergic asthma?
The cause of asthma isn’t known. However, for those with allergic asthma, the reason symptoms start is related to allergens. This is the main difference between allergic asthma and other types of asthma — allergens are inhaled and trigger asthma symptoms. When you experience severe asthma 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 asthma, inhaling these allergens can set off (trigger) your symptoms. It’s important to know what can trigger your asthma so that you can control your condition.

Possible allergens that can trigger allergic asthma can include:

Dander: This is skin flakes and it’s usually from pets. Hair is often grouped with dander as a common allergen.
Pollen: A powdery substances, pollen comes from plants. The most common types of pollen that trigger allergic asthma 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 asthma, 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 exposed to an allergen. These symptoms can include:

A stuffy nose.
Itchy or running eyes.
A rash and hives.

Does an asthma attack trigged by allergies feel different than a typical asthma attack?
When you have an asthma attack that’s triggered by your allergies, it is a severe flair up of your asthma symptoms. During an asthma attack, your airways will tighten, making it difficult to breathe. You may also feel chest pressure, wheeze and cough. The symptoms of an allergic asthma attack are the same as an asthma attack caused by something else. The difference between the two is the cause of the asthma attack. When you experience severe asthma symptoms after breathing in an allergen, this is typically allergic asthma.









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