How to Manage Your Allergic Asthma

There are steps you can take to prevent asthmatic attacks caused by allergens.

Asthma is a common condition that affects almost 8 percent of Americans, or 1 in 13 people. In the population of adults who have asthma, 65 percent have persistent asthma, while 35 percent have intermittent asthma. Persistent asthma means that someone will experience symptoms more than twice a week. These symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness and nightly or morning coughing, and can make daily life quite difficult. In fact, children with asthma often miss school because of their symptoms.

The most common type of asthma

In many cases of asthma, dust mites, mold, smoke or pet hair can trigger an attack. If your asthma is brought on by one of these allergens, or others, you may have allergic asthma. This is the most common asthma type and affects 60 percent of people with asthma. Your doctor can confirm allergic asthma by performing blood or skin tests.

In allergic asthma, the body produces an immune reaction when you come into contact with an allergen, such as dust or mold. Your immune system detects the substance as “foreign” and releases antibodies to keep the body safe. Unfortunately, this immune response results in inflammation of the throat, making it harder to breath, which triggers an asthma attack.

Allergic asthma can be managed

Fortunately, there are many different things you can do to manage allergic asthma:

Know your allergens: When your doctor performs tests to diagnose your asthma, the results should identify which specific allergens trigger your asthma. However, it’s also a good idea to jot down notes on where you were and what you were doing when you experience an attack. Knowing your allergens will help you avoid them or do your best to minimize their effect. For example, if you are allergic to mold, thoroughly cleaning your bathroom or other areas where mold could accumulate could reduce its impact.

Take your medications: There are two different types of medications that can help treat allergic asthma—short-acting therapies and long-acting therapies. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), short-acting beta-agonist and long-acting beta agonist or long-acting muscarinic adrenergic antagonist (LABA/LAMA) medications can be taken to control symptoms. People with persistent severe allergic asthma may also use an immunotherapy in addition to these medications. Immunotherapies work with the body’s natural immune system to reduce the body’s sensitivity to allergens.

Create a management plan: The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends creating a management plan that lists the medications that should be taken daily to control persistent symptoms and those that should be taken for quick relief during an attack. It may also be helpful to tailor your diet to help control your symptoms. In addition to eating a balanced diet to help maintain weight, you should consider avoiding foods that contain any allergens that can trigger your asthma. For those with severe cases, talk to your doctor about boosting your intake of vitamin D a supplement. A study in children indicated that adoption of the Mediterranean diet might help reduce asthmatic symptoms, and another study found that consumption of fruits and vegetables might also be prevenative.

Talk to your doctor about your allergic asthma

If you are one of many Americans who have persistent symptoms of allergic asthma, talk to your doctor about how to best manage your condition and get you on track.

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