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Overview

allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma.

Asthma is a condition in which your airways become inflamed and narrow, which can cause difficulty breathing. An asthmatic person's airways react to certain triggers, such as allergens and pollution, by tightening up. Asthma is often classified into two types: allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma.

-Allergic Asthma
This is the most common form of asthma, affecting about 20 percent of the population. In allergic asthma, small proteins in inhaled substances, such as pollen and pet dander, become activated once inside the lungs. Sensitized white blood cells then travel from the lungs to other parts of the body where they release chemicals that alert the body's immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies cause an inflammatory reaction in the airways of people with allergic asthma leading to narrowing and inflammation.

-Non-allergic Asthma
This is a less common form of asthma which develops when something irritates and inflames your airways but you do not have allergies to it. Examples of non-allergic asthma include dust mite and cockroach allergies, or irritants that include smoke, mold, and fumes.

Symptoms & Causes

The most common symptom of asthma is wheezing. It may occur during exercise or when you breathe in cold air. Other symptoms include tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.
It is most likely to occur during the late fall through the spring season when the weather changes from hot and humid to cold, dry air. For some people with asthma, their symptoms may not be noticeable at all times. Others with asthma may have mild symptoms. It depends on the person, the environment and their state of health at the time.
The causes of asthma are not known in certain cases but there are many theories that try to explain why it occurs. Some people with asthma seem to get it from a family member while others may be environmental factors such as cigarette smoke or pollution.
It is important to make a distinction between allergies and asthma because they may require different treatments. Allergies can be treated with antihistamines that reduce inflammation in your airways so they can breathe easier and as a result, limit their trigger reactions. Asthma is a medical condition that requires medical treatment.

When to see a doctor?

If you have asthma, you should go see a doctor even if your symptoms are mild. If symptoms are moderate or severe, then you should go see your doctor right away. Also, if you have asthma and are pregnant, you should talk to your doctor immediately to better understand the risks and possible treatments.

Diagnosis

Doctors can determine whether you have asthma based on your signs and symptoms. You will likely have a physical examination, including listening to your chest with a stethoscope, and ask about any medical problems you may have had recently. In addition, they may:

Doctors may also perform allergy tests, if necessary. The tests check for specific antibodies to things like pollen or dust mites that cause allergic asthma. In certain cases, doctors may take a sample of fluid from one of your lungs (bronchial lavage) or perform an x-ray of one of your lungs to search for certain triggers for non-allergic asthma.

Treatment

The goal of asthma treatment is to control and prevent symptoms so that you can live an active life. Your doctor will likely recommend a combination of medications and therapy, which varies from person to person.

There are two types of medications your doctor may suggest: short-term rescue medication or long-term control medication. Short-term rescue medication includes:
inhalers, named beta agonists such as albuterol and salmeterol, or oral systemic corticosteroids, which are commonly referred to as oral steroids. These medications help relax the muscles around the airways, making it easier to breathe.
-Long-term control medication
These are medications that you take daily to reduce inflammation and prevent symptoms. These include:
leukotriene modifiers and long-acting inhaled beta agonists or LABAs, which are commonly referred to as "controller" medications.
Rarely, people with severe asthma may need to be hospitalized and put on a ventilator machine, which they breathe through while they're in the hospital using long-term control medications. This is known as noninvasive positive pressure ventilation or NIPPV.
There are also other medications that your doctor may suggest. These include:
antibiotics, and immunotherapy, which is also referred to as allergy shots.

Complication

If asthma is not managed well then complications may occur. 

Complications of asthma include:
Emergency asthma treatment includes administering a rescue inhaler and taking you to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Asthma emergencies can also be caused by an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting or other insect bites or stings, or severe cold weather. If you have any underlying medical conditions then it's important to have an inhaler on hand in case of an emergency and get the right treatment right away.
-Inhalers
The types of inhalers your doctor may recommend include:
-Oral steroids
These may be prescribed for oral inhalation. They are taken without having to take your daily medication.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a condition that usually involves heartburn from acid reflux coming up from the stomach into the esophagus. This can cause asthma symptoms in some people with asthma that have chronic or persistent chest pain or difficulty breathing. Your doctor may prescribe medicines for GERD and urge you to avoid meals and hot drinks which seem to aggravate GERD symptoms. If you have asthma, GERD is more than twice as likely to occur in your chest than in your stomach.


-Antibiotics
In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed for people with asthma or other types of bronchitis. Asthma and bronchitis are both caused by an infection of the airways so antibiotics that can help fight infections of the lungs may also help. If you have asthma and don't take your medication then talk to your doctor about it. You should not stop taking an inhaler without first speaking to a doctor.
-Wheezing and breathlessness may suggest that there's something improper with how you're breathing.
If you feel that you're breathing in too much air or gasping for breath, it may be a sign of asthma.
-Breathing through the mouth can cause some asthma symptoms to get worse.
If your lungs are sensitive and overworked they may hurt when they breathe in and out through the throat. Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and tightness in your chest may occur.
-Frequent infections can cause asthma symptoms to get worse.
Infections can trigger asthma attacks or keep tempting you to use your inhaler more often than usual. People with asthma should see their doctor regularly for a checkup.
-Losing weight may help some people with asthma.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help you lower the amount of medication your doctor might prescribe and make it easier to live with asthma symptoms.
-Coughing and vomiting might suggest that an infection is going on in your airways, which will make you have more asthma symptoms.
Infections inside a person's airways can cause breathing difficulties.
-Sleeping with your mouth open can increase the risk of developing asthma.
Some people who have asthma find that breathing through their nose helps them sleep more comfortably than when they breathe through their mouth, especially if they use a humidifier at night.
-Proper use of the inhaler can help control symptoms.
When you take your inhaler, it's important to take it exactly as your doctor has told you to.
-Respiratory infections can make you more likely to have an asthma attack or make your symptoms worse.
If your airways get infected, then you might feel like you need to use more of your rescue inhalers than usual.
-Inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) may be prescribed for people with persistent asthma and chronic inflammation.
-Maintaining a healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing asthma and can also help relieve symptoms if someone already has it.
-People with asthma are more likely to get pneumonia.
-If mold is found in your home or workplace and you have asthma, then you should avoid it.
People with asthma should take special care when cleaning dairy equipment and store food correctly.
-Some people experience silent chest infections that can lead to breathing difficulties in some youth.
-Sometimes people who have asthma don't show any signs of the disease, but it can still cause a lot of symptoms like coughing, chest pain or difficulty breathing.
-Coughing indicates that there might be mucus in your airways.
-People who smoke cigarettes are at risk of having asthma symptoms.
-If you have allergies, you might recommend using a flu vaccine instead of a flu shot.
-In severe cases, an asthma attack could be deadly if it's not treated in a timely manner. 

Prevention

If you are going to have a child, then your doctor can help you get pregnant and take care of any health conditions that may arise. If you think that it's too complicated for you to have a baby or are not ready, then talk to your doctor.
-Do not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs while pregnant.
Smoking, drinking and using drugs while pregnant can negatively affect many parts of the developing baby's body, including the brain. These drugs and substances can also lead to miscarriage in some cases.
-Stay active during pregnancy.
Exercise along with healthy eating habits can help protect both the mother and the baby when she's carrying them.
-If you have asthma, then talk to your doctor about whether or not you should get vaccinated while pregnant.
There are some different types of vaccines you can and cannot get when you're pregnant.
-Breastfeeding can help decrease the amount and severity of asthma symptoms for both mothers and children.
Breastfeeding is a natural way for babies to develop their immune systems and to be healthy, which can help protect a child from developing allergies and other types of illnesses later in life. Breast milk contains essential nutrients like fats, sugars, protein and minerals that your baby's body needs to grow as well as immunoglobulins that boost the immune system.


-Asthma is a non-contagious condition.
-Allergic asthma symptoms arise from the immune system being overly sensitive to allergens.
The immune system misinterprets allergens as harmful substances or germs and this causes it to trigger an allergic reaction called inflammation that releases certain chemicals called mast cells and histamines. These chemicals affect the airways by causing coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
-Asthma attacks cannot be cured, but people with asthma can learn how to manage their symptoms so they can live freely without feeling sick all the time.
-If you have asthma, then you may need to take your doctor's advice on how often you should use your rescue inhalers and how long they should last.
-When you take your rescue inhalers, do not stop taking them without speaking with a doctor first.
-If you take an ICS, then it is important for you to follow all of the instructions on the package and properly use the inhaler.
-Doctors may recommend that people with asthma use a humidifier at home or work to relieve dry air symptoms.
-People who have asthma are more likely to get pneumonia.
-If mold is found in your home or workplace and you have asthma, then you should avoid it.
People with asthma should take special care when cleaning dairy equipment and store food correctly.

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