Most people are familiar with what allergies are. And many people are familiar with asthma. But allergic asthma? Is there such a thing? Yes. And just like other types of asthma, its symptoms can be serious.
At Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland, board-certified allergist Vasif Kalfa, MD, offers custom care solutions for patients in Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, and Bethesda, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., including state-of-the-art care for allergic asthma. Here’s what Dr. Kalfa wants you to know about this surprisingly common type of asthma.
Allergic asthma: The basics
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes your airways to constrict, making it hard to breathe. During asthma flare-ups, you also produce a lot more mucus, which can also interfere with breathing.
Allergies are an immune system reaction that happens when you come in contact with allergens, substances that irritate your immune system and provoke an allergic response. There are many, many different types of allergens, but some of the most common include:
- Dust or smoke
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Certain foods, including some nuts and eggs
- Some medicines
When you come in contact with an allergen, your body reacts with symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes.
Interestingly, many people who have asthma also have allergies, and often, the two are connected: When you come in contact with an allergen (typically, an airborne allergen), it triggers asthma symptoms, like coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. That reaction happens because the allergen causes our body to release more of a substance called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which in turn causes your airways to swell.
Treating allergic asthma
Doctors typically diagnose asthma by listening to your lungs, reviewing your symptoms, and using a simple, noninvasive, painless breathing test called spirometry to measure how well your lungs are working. For allergies, different techniques are used.
Dr. Kalfa offers an array of allergy tests, including skin prick tests and patch testing, to “zero in” on possible causes of allergies and allergy-induced asthma. Identifying your triggers can help you avoid those substances to reduce your allergy and asthma flare-ups.
In addition to allergy testing, asthma treatment often involves using an inhaler or other medicines to relax your airways and make breathing easier. Depending on your allergies, Dr. Kalfa may prescribe allergy medicines, as well.
Patient-centered care for allergies and asthma
Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma, and with the right treatment, it can be managed. To learn how we can help you control your asthma symptoms, call 240-332-8010 or book an appointment online at Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland today.