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Allergy and asthma may seem like related conditions. This is because the coughing and wheezing associated with asthma are commonly triggered by similar items that cause a person to suffer with allergies. To get a better understanding of the relationship between these two items, it is important to understand them individually.
Allergies are the body’s hypersensitive immune response to items that enter the body. The most common allergens include pollen, mold, and pet dander. When a person is allergic to one particular substance, the immune system mistakes it for something dangerous and goes into overdrive to get rid of it. For instance, many people in Texas are allergic to pollen. Sneezing and watery eyes may occur to free the substance from the body. Allergies are extremely common. Almost 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from some type of allergy, especially during the change of seasons.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that brings inflammation and leads to a narrowing of the airways. It causes a person to suffer chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. More than 25 million Americans are known to have this condition.
People with asthma usually have inflamed airways, which make them swollen. This makes the airways extremely sensitive to particular items that are inhaled. This reaction causes muscles to tighten and deliver less air to the lungs. Fortunately, this disease is manageable with proper treatment.
Although some individuals view allergy and asthma differently, one may act as a trigger of the other. Over half of asthma cases are related to allergies. There are two forms of asthma; intrinsic and allergic. Intrinsic asthma is caused by external factors including stress, exercise, anxiety, or cold air. Allergic asthma is triggered by allergens in the environment.
The only difference between a regular allergic reaction and asthma that has been started by an allergen is the location of the reaction. Both responses are very similar. A person with a common allergic reaction will sneeze and suffer congestion in the nose. An asthmatic reaction to an allergen will affect the lungs and lead to coughing or wheezing. No one completely knows why some people are affected by allergens in the nose and others are affected by allergens in the lungs. However, there are some studies that link an asthmatic predisposition to a certain gene.
The best way to control allergy triggered asthma is to remove allergens from the home. Eliminating known allergens will prevent an attack. For example, when a person is allergic to dust mites, it is essential to vacuum and change bed sheets often. Also, certain medication may lower the likelihood of an attack as well. Antihistamines will help reduce the body’s reaction to allergens, and corticosteroids will lower swelling in the airways.
Certain research has uncovered that people who suffer seasonal allergies may develop asthma if not properly treated. People who suffer from these types of allergies should use an antihistamine. When this is not effective, a nasal steroid spray may be helpful.
Allergies are the immune system’s reaction to foreign particles in the body. This leads to feelings of itchy eyes and/or a runny nose. Evidence suggests that people with allergies may develop asthma, or people with asthma may trigger an attack by being exposed to allergens.