Out of all the types of asthma, the most common is allergy-induced asthma. In the United States, approximately 6 out of every 10 asthma sufferers have this type of asthma. What this means is that their asthma symptoms are triggered when their body reacts to an allergen to which they are sensitive. The most common allergens are dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and mold.
When someone with this type of asthma comes into contact with an allergen, his immune system produces histamines. These irritate the bronchial airways and lungs. The airways become swollen due to inflammation, and mucus starts to build up. This makes breathing difficult because the passages have become narrower, allowing less air to flow to and from the lungs.
When someone has allergies, his immune system produces what are known as IgE antibodies. These are what cause allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, and also may cause the airways to become inflamed.
In recent years, more and more people are diagnosed with asthma related to allergies. This may be due to a variety of reasons including more frequent exposure to different allergens. Children from poor families living in the city tend to be more frequently diagnosed with this type of asthma. It may be due to living conditions which include exposure to two particular allergy triggers, rodents and cockroaches.
Having a family history of allergies also makes one more prone to develop this type of asthma. Nearly 3 out of 4 people with asthma also have hay fever. So the connection between allergies and asthma is significant.
It has been shown that treating allergies can help reduce asthma symptoms. Sometimes, just decreasing the amount of exposure to allergens is as effective as using asthma inhalers. For some individuals, getting regular allergy shots to build up their immunity to particular allergens can help improve their asthma.
People who suffer from asthma triggered by allergies are often also treated with a combination of medications. These may include corticosteroids and leukotriene modifiers. Both of these work to decrease inflammation. Corticosteroids are often used in inhalers, while leukotriene modifiers, like Singulair, are taken in pill form.
Always consult with your doctor to determine the best treatment for your asthma. Like other types of asthma, allergy-induced asthma can often be well controlled by a combination of the appropriate medication and decreasing exposure to allergens.