Asthma is a chronic airway disease that affects about 1 in 12 people (25 million in the US). Chances are you know someone with asthma but you might not know that there are 6 different types of asthma or what you can do to treat them.
6 Main Types of Asthma
- Allergic asthma
This is the most common form of asthma, affecting more than half of all asthma sufferers. It occurs when asthma symptoms are triggered by an allergic reaction to things like mold, pollens, pet dander, etc. You experience symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, and chest tightness.
- Asthma without allergies
This type of asthma is caused by things like anxiety, stress, exercise, cold air, smoke viruses or other irritants. Many of the symptoms non-allergic asthma are the same as allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma has the same two secondary symptoms: irritated bronchi and airflow obstruction. The airway branches leading to the lungs (bronchi) get overly reactive and very sensitive, which causes the lungs to be inefficient when moving air in and out.
- Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD)
AERD is achronic medical condition that consists of asthma, nasal congestion, and nasal polyps. People who suffer from AERD often do not respond to conventional treatments such as being able to take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)
The name "exercise induced asthma" can be misleading. Just because you have shortness of breath while exercising does not mean you have exercised induced asthma. For those that do have EIB what actually happens is that airflow obstruction occurs because of exercise, usually 5 to 20 minutes after exercise begins. This asthma is characterized by coughing and wheezing. As many as 90 percent of all people who have asthma will experience symptoms of EIB during exercise.
- Cough variant
Frequent coughing, especially at night, may be a sign of asthma. Your only symptom usually is a dry, nonproductive cough; you typically won't experience the "classic" asthma symptoms. Cough variant asthma usually consits of a cough lasting longer than 6 weeks. While it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, check with your doctor if a cough lingers for more than two weeks or occurs repeatedly throughout the year.
- Occupational asthma
This type of asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while you are working at your job. Usually, symptoms are worse while you are working, get better when you have time off and begin again when you return to work. This asthma has become the most common work-related lung disease in developed countries.
How to Treat Asthma
- Use Proper Asthma Medication
Most people with asthma need two kinds: quick-relief medicines and long-term control medicines. Quick relief medicines, like bronchodilators, are most often prescribed for asthma. In the form of an inhaler, they help open up the restricted bronchi (passageways into the lungs) to help you breathe better quickly. There are also long-term control medicines that are taken daily that can also help by reducing airway inflammation and helping improve asthma control.
Two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and sublingual tablets. Allery shots tend to be very effective in relieving allergy symptoms and in some cases can cure an allergy. While it can take several years, it helps build up your immunity to certain allergens. Your body naturally builds a tollerance that can drastically reduce or even eliminate your allergy symptoms. Sublingual tablets are usually taken daily before allergy season begins. These medications are not used for people with severe or uncontrolled asthma. Currently not all allergens can be treated using this method but some like grass and ragweed pollens, can be.
- See an allergist, an asthma specialist
An allergist can help you learn more about your asthma and develop a treatment plan that works for you.
Whichever treatment you and your doctor decide on, know that Asthmadiscounts.com offers great discounts on your asthma medication to help you control your asthma and breathe freely.