What is allergic asthma?
Allergic asthma is how doctors describe a particular type of asthma. In people with this common condition, certain types of allergens can trigger asthma attacks and symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
How common is it?
The National Institutes of Health estimates that 60% of the people in the United States with asthma have allergic asthma.
What triggers allergic asthma?
You are probably aware of many things that can trigger your asthma. Mold, dust mites, cockroaches, and pet dander are common examples of year-round allergens. What you may not know is how something as simple as visiting a friend who has a pet can lead to an asthma attack. The reason, in part, is a substance produced by the body called IgE.
What is IgE?
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is the name of the antibody that plays a major role in allergic diseases. Your body produces the IgE antibody when it detects an allergen and causes the “allergic cascade” to begin.
Too much IgE can trigger inflammation of the airways making it harder for you to breathe. This can lead to an asthma attack.
How can I tell if I have allergic asthma?
Only a doctor can confirm a diagnosis of allergic asthma. This is typically done using a skin or blood test to see if your asthma is triggered by year-round allergens in the air.
Are there any tips on living with allergic asthma?
For advice on avoiding the allergens that can trigger your symptoms, see Living with Allergic Asthma.
SOURCE: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. First created 2004; most recently updated 2005.
© Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) Editorial Board