Allergic asthma is the most prevalent form which stems from an allergic reaction. If an individual has this type of asthma, the body perceives allergens as a threat and initiates to attack them. This immune attack can trigger the asthma symptoms.
What are the signs?
Most of the signs of allergic asthma and the non-allergic form are the same such as:
- Chest tightness
- Chronic coughing
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can be triggered by dust mites, tobacco smoke, cockroaches, animal dander, pollen and mold.
Upon exposure to these triggers, a complex reaction starts which results to the manifestation of the asthma symptoms.
Is there a link with the immune system?
Generally, the immune system protects the body from infections, but it can also be accountable for aggravating the signs of allergic asthma.
If an individual has allergic asthma, he/she is likely atopic and has an innate predisposition towards allergies. Consequently, the immune system establishes an exaggerated response to the allergens or triggers.
The body perceives these allergens as a threat and fights them off. During this process, a reaction occurs:
- Sensitization – the initial response to an allergen which causes the formation of IgE.
- Initial phase response – on the next exposure to the allergen, the IgE binds to the allergen which triggers the release of other chemicals known as mediators that results to acute inflammation and bronchoconstriction.
- Late phase response – the release of eosinophils after the binding of the allergen and IgE results to increased inflammation and symptoms several hours after exposure
Management of allergic asthma
The treatment for allergic asthma mainly involves:
- Observation of the peak expiratory flow and the symptoms
- Avoidance of the asthma triggers