An allergic asthma. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lung airways. It’s symptoms are made worse by exposure to an allergen (e.g., dust, mold, pollen, dust mite allergens and animal dander) to which the patient has been sensitized.
A simple sneeze could trigger allergic asthma or a simple cough could lead to that as well.
What are the symptoms of allergic asthma?
The symptoms of allergic and non-allergic asthma are the same. They include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, and chest tightness. These symptoms are often provoked by an identifiable trigger.
What factors can cause or trigger allergic asthma?
A family history of allergies is the most important predictor of whether a person will develop asthma. Environmental substances (allergens) can trigger an exacerbation – or attack – in patients with allergic asthma.
The allergens include tree, grass, and weed pollen, plus molds, animal dander, dust mites and cockroach droppings. Asthma attacks can also be triggered by viral infections, exercise, cold air and non-specific irritants.
How many people suffer from allergic asthma?
Allergic asthma is the most common form of asthma. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, of the 17 million asthma sufferers in the United States, 10 million (approximately 60 percent) have allergic asthma. Three million are children and 7 million are adults.
What is the relationship between allergies and allergic asthma?
Most people with asthma also suffer from other allergic disorders. In fact, research from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that at least 70 percent of asthmatics also suffer from allergic rhinitis or “hay fever.”
Nasal allergies and allergic asthma are both triggered by exposure to allergens, initiating a series of events that result in tightening of the airways, swelling of the lining of the airways, nose and eyes, and mucus production.
What is IgE and why is it important in allergic asthma?
IgE (Immunoglobulin E) is an antibody in the human immune system that plays a critical role in the allergic process.
When an individual is sensitized to an allergen, he or she produces an IgE antibody directed against that allergen. The IgE antibody attaches to mast cells.
When the individual is exposed to that same allergen again, the allergen binds to the IgE on the mast cell causing it to release substances such as histamine, prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which cause symptoms such as chest tightness, coughing and wheezing.
What treatments are available for people suffering from allergic asthma?
It is important for people with asthma to seek treatment. First, patients are evaluated to identify their specific allergic triggers and a program of allergen avoidance is recommended.
Asthma is treated with medications including anti-inflammatory agents, such as corticosteroids and anti-leukotrienes that decrease inflammation in the lungs, and bronchodilators used for relief of symptoms.
Allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a program of injections that reduces allergic sensitization.
A new drug currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), known as anti-IgE, concentrates on short-circuiting the allergic reaction in the body before it even begins.
Anti-IgE therapy stops the allergic reaction before it starts, allowing the patient to avoid allergy symptoms that often trigger an asthma attack or lead to the development of asthma attacks.
Researchers are looking for targets for new forms of treatment. Future therapies may focus on cytokines, substances that maintain the chronic inflammation responsible for asthma.
Other research may also lead to the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs, which may retain the anti-inflammatory effects of corticosteroids but cause fewer systemic side effects.
As the more and more developing countries are emerging, more and more air pollution is arising, whether asthma or allergic asthma, the number of people having is rising.
They could have acquired this chronic illness rather than having it genetically as the environment is getting more and more dirtier.