Same allergy triggers that make some people sneeze, have runny nose and red watery eyes can cause an asthma attack in others. The most common type of asthma is the allergic asthma. It is presented in about 6 out of 10 cases of asthma. Allergic asthma symptoms are coughing, breathlessness, wheezing, etc. Allergic asthma treatment includes medications to control the attacks and symptoms. In severe cases, an antibody treatment (Omalizumab) or bronchial thermoplasty may be recommended. More detailed information about this condition, its symptoms, diagnostic services, as well as allergic asthma treatment options, is presented below.
What do allergies and asthma have in common?
Allergies and asthma often occur together. The same substances that may trigger your hay fever symptoms like pollen, dust mites and pet dander may also cause your asthmatic signs and symptoms. Skin or food allergies can cause asthma symptoms in some people. This is known as allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma.
An allergic response occurs when immune system proteins (antibodies) mistakenly identify a harmless substance, such as tree pollen, as an invader. In an attempt to protect your body from the substance, antibodies bind to the allergen. The chemicals released by your immune system lead to allergy signs and symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes or skin reactions. For some people, this same reaction also affects the lungs and airways, leading to asthma symptoms.
ALLERGIC ASTHMA SYMPTOMS
- Shortness of breathe
- Quick breathing
- Tightness in chest
ALLERGIC ASTHMA TREATMENT OPTIONS
Rescue Inhalers (Short-Acting Bronchodilators)
These work quickly and are usually the first medication your doctor will give you to use for an asthma attack. Everyone who has asthma should have a short-acting bronchodilator. They’re often called rescue inhalers because they come in a small inhaler that you carry with you and puff when you have symptoms. The effects last 4-6 hours. They work by opening up, or dilating, the airways in your lungs.
If your doctor thinks you’re using your rescue inhaler too often, that’s a sign your asthma isn’t under control. You may need to take medications such as inhaled steroids every day. You inhale these drugs through a portable device. They work by curbing inflammation in your lungs’ airways. They’re called “controller” medications because they help control your asthma over longer periods of time. These medications can help keep your lungs working better after future asthma attacks. You probably won’t need your rescue inhaler as much either.
Long-acting bronchodilators are another type of controller medication. They work like rescue inhalers, but the effects last longer, usually about 12 hours. You use them regularly, twice a day. You should only use them along with inhaled steroids and never as the only medication to control your asthma.
Montelukast (Singulair), zafirlukast (Accolate), and zileuton (Zyflo) are pills that help long-term asthma control. These drugs shut down the effects of molecules called leukotrienes, which trigger airway inflammation.
Prednisone is a common steroid used by people whose rescue inhaler doesn’t help enough when they have a severe asthma attack. It’s usually taken as a pill. It works by lessening the inflammation that causes the serious symptoms. You should use steroids only when you need them, because they can cause serious side effects if you take high doses for a long time.
Omalizumab (Xolair) is usually a last-resort medication for people with severe allergic asthma that doesn’t go away and isn’t controlled with other treatments. It prevents cells in your body from starting the inflammation process and makes you less sensitive to your triggers.
The first asthma treatment modality aimed at reducing the thickness of ASM, bronchial thermoplasty improves a patient’s breathing capacity by reducing the airways’ ability to constrict airflow. Asthma patients who received bronchial thermoplasty during clinical trials have demonstrated significant improvement in their asthma symptoms as well as a reduction in the number of severe asthma flare-ups and emergency department visits.
A full course of bronchial thermoplasty treatment includes three separate bronchoscopic procedures: one for the each lower lobe of the lung and another for both upper lobes. Each outpatient procedure is performed approximately at least three weeks apart. Under sedation, a catheter inside a bronchoscope—a thin, flexible tube-like instrument introduced through the patient’s nose or mouth, and into their lungs—delivers thermal energy into the airways. The patient is monitored after the procedure, and usually, returns home that day or early the next day.
DIAGNOSING ALLERGIC ASTHMA
- Physical exam: This is done to rule out other possible conditions like a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Questions about your signs and symptoms may also be asked.
- Spirometry: To estimate the narrowing of your bronchial tubes. This is done by checking how much air you are able to exhale and how fast after a deep breath.
- Peak flow: A device that is able to measure how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual readings are a sign that your lungs may not be working as well and that your asthma may be getting worse. Instructions on how to track and deal with low peak flow readings will be given by your doctor.
- Allergy testing: Performed through a skin test or blood test. This helps to identify allergy to pets, dust, mold and pollen. This can lead to a recommendation for allergen immunotherapy if important allergy triggers are identified.