Asthma is a disease that affects the branches of the windpipe, known as the bronchial tubes. They are responsible for moving air from the mouth or nose into the lungs. For patients with asthma, that can be difficult at times. The airways may constrict suddenly or the lining can swell, closing off the tubes. For some people, mucus thickens, making breathing difficult.
For some patients, there is a direct correlation between allergies and asthma. Allergic asthma is a condition triggered by an allergy, usually airborne such as pollen or mold spores. Most days, people with this condition breathe fine but when exposed to a specific trigger, they have an asthma attack.
It's unclear why some individuals develop asthma. The most likely answer is a combination of environmental factors and genetics. Sensitivities like these tend to run in families but, for most people, there is certainly an environmental component at play with asthma as well. Specific triggers set off their attacks such as:
Believe it or not, not all asthma triggers are found in the air. The trigger might be hidden in food or a medicine. It might be stress or exercise that sets off the attack, too. At times, patients with mild asthma only have a problem with they get sick.
The symptoms of asthma and many allergies are very similar. Patients experience:
For people with asthma, these symptoms may be frequent or severe.
Not all allergies present as respiratory problems, although asthma-like symptoms are common. People with allergies may experience:
A severe allergic reaction can lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis and shock. You may lose consciousness or suddenly be unable to breathe. Anaphylaxis is a true medical emergency that requires immediate care.
No, not everyone with allergies has asthma. Many people with asthma, however, do suffer from allergies, as well.