What is Allergic Asthma?
Allergic asthma refers to asthma that is brought on by specific triggers, for example pets or peanuts. In many cases, allergic asthma can be life-threatening, especially if the allergen causes anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a condition in which the immune system’s allergic response leads to the release of chemicals that cause blood pressure to drop suddenly and the airways narrow so much that breathing is blocked.
It is important to be aware of the five main symptoms of asthma:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
If an individual experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to see their physician as soon as possible in order to determine if they had an asthma attack. If a person has already been diagnosed with any type of asthma — allergic or not — they should always have an inhaler available. Inhalers can quickly alleviate the symptoms of asthma, though the duration of this relief can vary greatly.
Currently, scientists do not understand why some people have allergic asthma and others do not. However, it appears to have a genetic component.
The most common triggers for allergic asthma are:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander, usually from dogs or cats
- Mold and mildew
- Pollen from plants and trees
- Insect bites, especially bee stings
- Specific foods or food additives
- Specific pesticides and household cleaners
When a person with allergic asthma encounters a substance which triggers an allergic response, their immune system releases a compound known as immunoglobulin E. Excess amounts of immunoglobulin E cause the release of chemicals in the body which lead to an inflammatory response, narrowing the airways and inhibiting one’s ability to breathe.
The best way to handle allergic asthma is to avoid known triggers. However, since this is not always possible, most doctors will prescribe short-acting inhalers. In more severe cases, nebulizers, steroid inhalers, or other medications may be required.
All breathing problems require immediate medical attention. In most cases simple medicines, along with precautionary measures, will allow us to remain healthy and able to enjoy life.
Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in the scenic beach town of Keansburg, NJ, specializes in treatment of lung conditions. Headed by leading pulmonary specialist Dr. Avtar Parhar, our program is the most highly advanced pulmonary rehabilitation program in Monmouth County. At Laurel Bay, we focus on restorative and preventive care for those who suffer with chronic respiratory disease.
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