Types Of Asthma
Types Of Asthma
In the history of the study and treatment of asthma, there have been many breakthroughs. In the early 1900s, doctors thought asthma was caused by stress. It was believed the stress brought on a reaction in the body which caused airways to narrow and shortness of breath.
But when it was discovered that epinephrine could effectively treat an asthma attack doctors wondered what the mechanism was that made epinephrine effective in treating asthma. As more evidence began to be compiled it was theorized that asthma was caused by allergies, and could be treated by injecting the proper protein into the patient. With the discovery of the allergic reaction, it became accepted that all asthma was caused by an allergic reaction to some substance.
As more research was conducted a new theory emerged. It seemed there were two types of asthma. One type was allergic asthma that was caused by an allergic reaction to an allergen. The other type was not caused by an allergic reaction but was caused by some factor going on in the body. This led to the theory that the two types of asthma were intrinsic asthma and extrinsic asthma. Intrinsic asthma is caused by a factor within the body, and extrinsic asthma is caused by allergens and other substances outside the body.
Intrinsic asthma is described as arising from something inside the body. People with intrinsic asthma do not have allergies and do not respond to allergy treatments. They are non-reactive on allergy skin testing.
Intrinsic asthma is the less common of the types of asthma. It is generally is diagnosed later in life and is more common among females. The symptoms are fairly identical to asthma symptoms from allergic asthma.
Experts believe that a combination of factors, including genetics and environmental factors, play a role in the development of both types of asthma.
Intrinsic asthma may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis, psychiatric issues, cold or dry air, aspirin, and other NSAIDs, environmental pollutants and many other things.
Basically, anything that isn’t classified as an allergic type of asthma is classified as intrinsic asthma. Figuring out the triggers of asthma symptoms can be much harder with intrinsic asthma
Extrinsic asthma is more common than intrinsic asthma. Extrinsic asthma is the allergic type of the two types of asthma.
Extrinsic asthma is thought to have a genetic component. If a family member has asthma it is much more likely that a child will also develop asthma.
Extrinsic asthma is a little easier to identify triggers for the symptoms, as most times an allergen skin test will identify the offending allergens.
There are many allergens that can cause asthma symptoms in those with extrinsic asthma. Allergies to pet dander, dust mites, pollen, and cockroach droppings being the most common.
Even though the types of asthma have different causes, the treatment of the disease is the same. Short-acting bronchodilators are usually prescribed by the doctor for sudden symptoms. These medications act quickly to relieve symptoms such as a cough and shortness of breath. An example of these drugs would be Albuterol.
In some instances, an anticholinergic drug such as Atrovent is prescribed in addition to the bronchodilator. An example would be Atrovent. These drugs work by blocking acetylcholine from binding to receptors and causing smooth muscle contraction that narrows the airways.
In cases of severe asthma, it may be necessary for your doctor to prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug such as a steroid until your asthma is under control.
It is important that you see your doctor if you or your child has symptoms of asthma. Unfortunately, many people still die each year due to asthma. Although the numbers are falling, it still happens, sadly. That’s why it is so important to see your doctor and get treatment. With proper treatment, asthma can be controlled and in most cases, the patient can do any activity they want. You need to let your doctor help you control your asthma, not let your asthma control you.