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Types of Asthma and Triggers

Types of Asthma and Triggers


Allergy Asthma & Sinus Center

In our Tennessee office we’ve been asked about what exactly asthma is and how it can be triggered. An estimated 17 million people living in the United States have self-reported asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease marked by wheezing, chest tightness and/or shortness of breath. If untreated asthma can be fatal.


The symptoms of asthma can include: excessive coughing while exercising or following exercise, shortness of breath, wheezing while breathing, and a tight feeling in the chest. If you or someone you care about experiences these symptoms, consult an allergist. Your allergist will be able to tell you causes of the symptoms. Allergies left untreated they can develop into asthma, so it’s important to see an allergist when you first start experiencing problems.

Asthma symptoms are caused by the constriction (tightening of the muscles) and the inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the airways. When a patient suffers from an asthma attack the muscles around the airways spasm, the mucosal membrane lining the airways gets inflamed and swells, and excessive amounts of mucus flow in the airways all contributing to the narrowing of the airway. This increases the resistance in the airway and makes the work of breathing more difficult.

Causes and Types

The causes of asthma symptoms are allergens, irritants, respiratory infections, and/or exercise can trigger asthma symptoms. Asthma is placed in different categories according to symptom triggers. These categories include:

Allergic Asthma triggered by allergic reactions to allergens such as pet dander, dust or dust mites, mold or pollen.

Seasonal Asthma triggered by seasonal allergic reactions to allergens such as trees, grasses, or weeds.

Non-Allergic Asthma triggered by irritants in the air that you breathe such as tobacco smoke, wood smoke, room deodorizers, fresh paint, and perfume.

Exercise-Induced Asthma triggered by exercise or physical activity.

Nocturnal Asthma can occur in a patient with any of the aforementioned types of asthma, though the asthma symptoms will increase or worsen at night.

Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children. If a child’s asthma is left untreated, it can result in loss of sleep, exercise limitations, absenteeism, emergency room visits and, in a few cases, death. Asthma in adults or children can be effectively treated with medications and ‘trigger’ avoidance. Again, receiving medical help for asthma is essential.

If you’re concerned about yourself or someone you care about consult your allergist regarding your symptoms. For more information visit our website at The Allergy, Asthma, & Sinus Center.

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About the Author

The Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center has been treating sinus, allergy and asthma symptoms in patients of all ages. Our experienced and caring team of multidisciplinary specialists includes physicians who are board certified in infant, pediatric, adolescent and adult allergy, asthma and immunology. Our commitment to providing patients with expert and friendly care extends from Upper East Tennessee to the Greater Nashville area, Kentucky and Georgia.

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