Allergy Induced Asthma
About Allergy Induced Asthma
Allergy induced asthma is a common form of asthma in which exposure to an allergen begins a chain of events that involves histamine, inflammation of the breathing passages, and difficulty breathing. Referred to as extrinsic asthma, it usually develops during childhood the majority of these cases (approximately eighty percent) involve known sensitivities to specific substances. This type of allergic asthma can disappear in early adulthood, however in three quarters of cases, the asthma does reappear later in life.
Causes of this Condition
There are many possible environmental causes of allergy induced asthma, and the allergens involved can be classified as indoor or outdoor. In the home, office buildings and industrial shops there are many substances that can trigger symptoms in those individuals suffering from allergy induced asthma. Indoor pollutants can come from fumes, cables, carpeting, cleaning products, disinfectant, paint, construction, and so on. Any of these pollutants can trigger congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, difficulty breathing and coughing. Research is finding that as more efficient homes and buildings are built, where there is less ventilation occurring within the structure, people are developing more sensitivities to indoor allergens.
Many environmental allergens are also found outdoors. These can include dust, fires, vehicle exhaust, insect stings, etc. These substances can trigger a reaction in individuals with allergy induced asthma. Some reactions can be extreme, as in the case with a bee sting, where immediate medical attention is required to enable an individual to normal, independent breathing.
Food allergies can also initiate an asthma attack for some individuals and it should be noted that almost any food can be the cause of a reaction, depending on the person’s sensitivity. If an individual has an inability to digest starches and sugars, eating excessive carbohydrates can result in asthmatic symptoms. Sugar sensitivities commonly cause mucus build up in the lungs, throat and sinuses, leading to difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing. Other foods that can affect those suffering from allergy induced asthma include fats, dairy, soy, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, fish, poultry, meat, caffeine, chocolate, and even spices.
Regarding heredity, it is noteworthy that having a parent with asthma will not guarantee that their child will also have the condition. Rather, an individual may inherit the tendency toward the condition, but not the condition itself. In general it is estimated that approximately two thirds of people with asthma will have a close relative with the same condition.
Chronic bronchitis and chronic sinusitis are respiratory conditions associated with those suffering from allergy induced asthma. Individuals with chronic bronchitis might experience symptoms all year around and may develop frequent infections which require the care of a physician. Nearly fifty percent of individuals suffering from allergy induced asthma also suffer from chronic sinusitis which can make the individual more susceptible to asthmatic episodes. As with chronic bronchitis, individuals with chronic sinusitis are also more susceptible to sinus infections and may be treated for bacterial and viral sensitivities.
Patients with this type of asthma may also suffer from allergic rhinitis which can be seasonal (caused by pollens) or chronic year-round (caused usually by indoor allergens such as pets, dust, air conditioning, etc). Allergic rhinitis can escalate to a point where individuals may experience loss of taste and smell, leading to loss of appetite, and weight loss. In severe cases this can lead to oral facial deformities and teeth grinding.
Managing the Condition
Effectively managing allergy induced asthma is complicated, as there are many factors that may be contributing to the condition and its severity. Just as there are multiple factors contributing, there may also be multiple treatments and preventative measures that may become part of the equation.
Physicians may request that the patient undergo allergy testing to determine the root cause of the allergic reaction or condition. By performing such testing, the physician will try to determine what triggers the asthma and whether or not allergy shots (immunotherapy) could be an effective treatment for managing the disease. Immunotherapy can desensitize an individual to the triggering allergens, minimizing the allergic response and symptoms.
After confirming the diagnosis for the condition, one of the first steps in managing allergy induced asthma is to minimize exposure to the substances causing the reaction. If the reaction is due to a food allergy, those foods will have to be avoided. If it’s a specific detergent or cleaning agent, use alternatives is in order. Sometimes, avoiding the allergen is difficult, as in the case of pollen, dust, or environmental materials. In these cases, there may be medications available to minimize the allergic reactions. This will keep the reactions minimal as long as the exposure to the allergen does not continue for a extended length of time.
Living with this asthma condition may not always be an easy task but for the most part, coping with this type of asthma is possible. By identifying the cause of allergic reactions, minimizing exposure to the irritant or substance, and using medications if required, the severity of reactions can be minimized and reduced in frequency. This may not be the case for all individuals and therefore in stubborn cases, seeking immediate medical treatment may be necessary. There is no definite cure for asthma, but if properly treated, long term damage can be avoided which is why it is very important to have the condition properly diagnosed and an asthma treatment plan put in place. click here to learn more about allergy induced asthma