Allergic asthma: symptoms and treatment
Causes of allergic asthma and prevention methods
Allergic asthma is one of the types of asthma and is a respiratory disease, characterized by inflammation and spasm in the bronchi, which makes these airways narrow and thus causes difficulty in breathing in the patient.
Allergic asthma is caused by an allergic reaction of the body to certain irritants (allergens), and is accompanied by a variety of symptoms.
What is the case of allergic asthma? What are the treatment methods used for this?
How does allergic asthma occur?
The exact cause of allergic asthma is still unknown, but scientists suggest that some genetic factors are involved with some environmental factors in causing the disease.
Studies indicate the participation of more than 100 genes, and each of them has a specific role in this mechanism, some affect the body’s immune system and others affect the tissue of the lungs and bronchi. and the function of each. (1)
As a result of a defect in the level of the immune system, the body overreacts to allergens, and sees them as harmful substances and needs to be fought against, and then inflammations and edemas form in the respiratory bronchi, which shrink and the patient’s breathing becomes very difficult. severe, and symptoms of an asthma attack appear.
Types of irritants
The irritants that trigger asthma attacks are very numerous, but they can be divided into two main types:
- Allergic irritants: such as airborne dust, pollen, animal fur, certain types of foods and others.
- Non-allergic irritants: strenuous physical activity, viral infections and colds, factory fumes, perfumes and even emotional outbursts.
As for the difference between these two types, the second type does not cause allergic reactions or swelling within the bronchi, but it aggravates existing infections, thus causing symptoms similar to those caused by allergens.
Symptoms of an allergic asthma attack
When an allergic asthma attack occurs, the patient suffers from symptoms of asthma and allergy at the same time, including:
- Breathing problems
- Sudden and frequent coughing
- An exhalation sound from the chest similar to the sound of a whistle and is called balloosez
- A feeling of pressure in the chest
- Runny nose and congestion
- Urticaria in the skin
These symptoms appear quickly and severely upon exposure to the irritant, so the patient should contact the specialist immediately if one of them appears, and special medications should be kept near him if he has previously received asthma treatment to help him reduce the severity of the attack.
But if the treatment is abandoned or the attacks do not subside quickly, the patient may develop chronic infections, and his condition may increase in severity, as his breathing becomes difficult to the point of shortness of breath, and then he may have to urgently go to the hospital.
Among the prominent complications that may appear in the previous case:
- Constant and constant fatigue
- The patient’s inability to function normally
- Infection of the lungs with pneumonia
- Severe pulmonary and respiratory failure
- Strong chest pains
Diagnosis of allergic asthma
There are many types of asthma, such as seasonal, allergic, non-allergic and others, but most cases are of the allergic type, and usually begin in childhood.
Taking the patient’s history and medical history is one of the main things the doctor focuses on when making the diagnosis, among the questions that may be asked during the examination:
- How many times do the attacks occur during the day?
- What is the severity of the attacks affecting the patient?
- How does the disease worsen over time?
- What are the substances to which the patient is exposed in his environment (home – work)?
The doctor will then order tests to confirm the diagnosis. These are two main tests:
- Spirometer: This is a test that measures lung function by measuring the pressure and volume of air the patient can blow out of their chest, and how hard it is to blow out. Therefore, it is useful in determining the amount of benefit and improvement in later treatment. (2)
- Partial Nitric Oxide (FeNO) Breath TestIt is a useful tool in determining the extent and severity of lung inflammation, and helps in monitoring and evaluating the development of chronic asthma. (3)
- In the past, an allergy test was performed when diagnosing asthma, but the latest recommendations in the diagnosis of the disease do not include any allergy test, and the reason for this is its lack of accuracy in diagnosing asthma, in addition to the similarity of the results to other diseases. (4)
The difference between allergic and non-allergic asthma
These two types cannot be distinguished in terms of symptoms, they are very similar, and the difference between them is the cause of these symptoms.
- In the case of allergic asthma, the disease results from an allergic reaction to certain substances in the air, in addition to the participation of genetic factors with the environment in this condition. (5)
- Although the non-allergic type may result from a viral infection in the respiratory tract or as a result of smoking or others, but not from allergens.
- One interesting difference is that females are more likely than males to develop non-allergic asthma.
- In addition, allergic asthma is more common in younger age groups, while non-allergic asthma is more common in older groups.
The treatment plan depends on the drugs and some tips to reduce the severity of the symptoms and the frequency of the attacks.
It is important for the patient to write down the medications he is taking over time, and the procedures he must take in case of an attack, the patient’s adherence to the doctor’s instructions and the treatment plan is the most important way to reduce attacks.
There are two main types of drugs:
- Anti-seizure medications: They are substances that reduce the degree of inflammation in general, and as a result they reduce the effect of allergens on the body to be better able to deal with them, thus reducing the recurrence of attacks in general.
- Medicines to control symptoms: It is used by the patient when the attack occurs, and it contributes to alleviating the severity of the symptoms after their appearance, and is in the form of oral sprays for use, and the person must keep them with him wherever he goes so that they can use them at the appropriate time.
- There are some modern technologies such as syringes and pumps that can be calibrated to deliver the drug into the patient’s blood on a regular basis.
Home recommendations for allergic asthma
This is a collection of recommendations that can contribute to the relief of symptoms, including:
- breathing exercises
- Weight loss
- to stop smoking
- Reducing consumption of red meat and sugars
- Eating more fruits, vegetables and foods rich in vitamin D, such as milk, juices and eggs
It is difficult to avoid contracting this disease because it has genetic and hereditary causes, but avoiding allergens that trigger attacks is considered essential for prevention.
In addition, it is recommended to get a flu shot because these viral infections can make asthma attacks worse.
It is also recommended to visit the doctor from time to time for tests, and to assess the development of the disease in order to change the medication doses if necessary.