Asthma, allergy and other factors causing asthma

Allergy is commonly related to asthma.
  • Over 80% of asthmatic children and over 60% of asthmatic adults have an allergic (atopic) background.
  • All allergens can cause asthma: dust mites, pollens, latex, moulds, medicine, insects, anaesthetic, food....

Other factors causing asthma

There can be multiple factors that contribute to the cause asthma.
  • Genetic predisposition: we often find in a family one or more asthmatic people. This predisposition corresponds to a bronchial hypersensitivity to one or more allergens, like pollens or animals.
  • Repetitive viral infections
  • Active and passive smoking
  • Cold and dry air
  • Effort
  • Stress: stress and anxiety often trigger an asthma attack. Many asthmatic people suffer from an attack when they experience difficulties in their profession or their family life. But one should not only relate asthma to stress, because this can lead doctors to deny patients a basic treatment, under the pretext that the cause of their asthma is stress.
  • Nonspecific irritants: paint, solvents, aerosol sprays, deodorants...
  • Atmospheric pollution

However, they will affect each asthmatic differently and in varying proportions of severity.

Asthma and rhinitis are closely linked

Allergic rhinitis and asthma have been linked for many years.
The nasal and bronchial airways are lined with the same membrane and react in exactly the same way when exposed to allergens. .
Asthma and allergic rhinitis are inflammatory symptoms of the respiratory tract
  • Approximately 40% of the people suffering from allergic rhinitis will go on to develop asthma later on.
  • 80% of asthmatics present with allergic rhinitis, which will make their asthma symptoms much worse if left untreated.
  • It is crucial that rhinitis is treated in asthmatics.
  • Similarly, it is necessary to assess for the presence of asthma in a person with allergic rhinitis.

Dealing with allergic rhinitis early may avoid having asthma.

Unfortunately, many people are bothered and live with rhinitis symptoms, however many are unaware that they are likely to be allergic in origin.

An allergy assessment by your GP or if severe an allergy specialist should be carried out if the rhinitis persists several months and worsens over the years.

A lung function test such as spirometry can help assess those with rhinitis for possible asthma and therefore avoid it going undiagnosed.
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