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Understanding Allergic Asthma

Asthma and allergies often work in tandem against the patient. Asthma is a disease affecting bronchial tubes, which transport air in and out of the lungs. There are several different types of asthma, including allergic asthma which is provoked by an allergen. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 10 million Americans suffer with allergic asthma.

To explain allergic asthma, we review the breathing process. It begins as air is taken in through the nose and trachea then into the bronchial tubes. Inside the bronchial tubes are alveoli, little air sacs that transports fresh (oxygen) to the blood. These sacs also collect carbon dioxide to be exhaled out of the body. During normal breathing, muscles circling the airways are at ease while air maneuvers about effortlessly. On the contrary, during an asthma “attack,” complications keep air from moving freely into airways:

  • Muscles surrounding airways tighten, known as a “bronchospasm.”
  • Bronchial airways may become swollen and/or inflamed.
  • Mucus may be produced in over abundance and may be thicker than normal.

These tightened airways result in difficulties in moving air in and out of the lungs. People with asthma struggle with their breath and feel they cannot get enough air. All of these changes make breathing difficult. Some patients experience long breaks between asthma episodes while others have some symptoms every day. Symptoms of asthma occur when patients encounter the biological events previously described.

Common symptoms of asthma are:

Coughing, especially in the evening
Shortness of breath
Tightness, pain, or pressure in the chest

It is important to note that not all people with asthma have the same symptoms. Symptoms may differ from one asthma episode to the next. Symptoms may fluctuate in severity, from mild during one attack to severe during another.

Milder asthma episodes are more common. The airways calm may down within minutes, but sometimes symptoms can last for a few hours. Although less common, the longer lasting and more severe episodes require immediate medical treatment. Patients should treat even mild symptoms to help prevent severe attacks and keep asthma in control.

If you suffer from allergies and asthma, a reaction to any allergen substance can aggravate asthma symptoms. For over 25 years, I have treated Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Patients in New York City. Help is available; you can breathe easier and live a greater quality of life.