What is Allergic Asthma?
More than 25 million people in the US have asthma, and allergic asthma is the most common type, affecting around 60% of people with asthma. Both allergic and non-allergic asthma have the same symptoms, such as shortness of breath and wheezing.
Having allergic asthma means allergens trigger your asthma symptoms. Allergens cause an allergic reaction because your immune system thinks they are harmful. Your immune system responds by releasing a substance called immunoglobulin E (or IgE). Too much IgE can trigger inflammation (swelling) of the airways in your lungs. This can make it harder for you to breathe and can trigger an asthma attack.
When you have asthma, it’s important to know what is happening in your airways, as well as common asthma symptoms. Understanding asthma symptoms can help you know what your triggers are, when you need quick-relief (“rescue”) medicines, and when you are having a medical emergency. There are three changes in your airways when you have asthma:
- Swelling inside the airways
- Excess mucus clogs the airways
- Muscles tighten and squeeze around the airways
You take most asthma medicines by breathing them in using an inhaler or nebulizer. An inhaler or nebulizer allows the medicine to go directly to your lungs. But some asthma medicines are in pill form, infusion form, or injectable form.