ASTHMA AND ALLERGIES

Causes

Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions when they enter human bodies. The substances enter individuals’ bodies by being inhaled, through swallowing, injections, or touching. An individual is likely to develop allergic asthma when their immune system responds actively to the presence of harmless allergens. Types of the allergens that cause allergic asthma include pollen, dust mites, air pollution like tobacco smoke, and strong perfumes or chemical perfumes. Some allergens are less common and thus rarely cause asthmatic reactions but are capable of triggering a more severe reaction. The less common allergens include cockroaches, fish, eggs, peanuts, and milk.      

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Prevalence

Research indicates that a significant number of Americans are asthmatic . Allergic asthma is the most prevalent type, and it affects almost 60 percent of people with asthma (Mims, 2015). Allergens and consequently, asthma can affect any individuals regardless of their race, age, or gender. Recent findings, however, indicate that the condition is more prevalent among Americans as compared to the rest of the world populations. The average annual rates of the diseases were also found to be higher in children than adults. It was also noted that the diseases affect individuals of the African origin than their white counterparts, and the conditions are more common among individuals in low socioeconomic levels. Moreover, the study realized that women were more likely to die from asthma than men.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of allergic asthma are similar to those of regular asthma, and they include wheezing, chest tightness, the shortness of breath, coughing, and rapid breathing (Marone et al., 2019).  Individuals with fever or skin allergies are likely to experience itchy skin, congestion, rash, itchy nose, watery eyes, and running nose. If caused by a swallowed allergen, individuals may experience a swollen face or tongue, swollen mouth, throats, or lips, or anaphylaxis, which is an acute allergic reaction.

Diagnosis

Allergic asthma is diagnosed using a skin prick test. A medical practitioner pokes the skin of the patient with a needle containing some little allergen and waits for approximately twenty minutes before checking for signs of allergic reactions.   More checks to determine whether an individual has asthma include spirometry, which entails measuring the volume of air the person inhales and exhales and looking for possible narrowing in the bronchial tubes of the lungs (Bonini & Usmani, 2015). Another method is the peak flow test, which entails measuring the air pressure of an individual as the individual breathes out. Doctors may also use the lung function test to determine whether an individual’s breathing improves upon taking asthma medication known as a bronchodilator.

Treatment

Most treatments treat either asthma or allergies, even though some treatments help with both cases. For instance, a leukotriene modifier treats both allergies and asthma symptoms. The medication regulates the chemicals of the immune system that are produced during an allergic reaction. Rarely, patients report psychological effects like suicidal feelings. Immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots, also teats asthma. It is administered through regular injections for a period ranging from three to five years. The injections of small volumes of allergens trigger symptoms and help the body to adapt to the allergens over time. The third treatment approach involves the use of an anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy. The immune systems of individuals with allergies trigger the release of IgE antibodies to combat the invading allergen. A subsequent attack by allergens causes the release of histamine, which helps prevent the allergic reactions that cause asthmatic symptoms.

References

Bonini, M., & Usmani, O. S. (2015). The role of the small airways in the pathophysiology of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Therapeutic advances in respiratory disease, 9(6), 281-293.

Marone, G., Granata, F., Pucino, V., Pecoraro, A., Heffler, E., Loffredo, S., … & Varricchi, G. (2019). The Intriguing Role of IL-13 in the Pathophysiology of Asthma. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 10, 1387.Mims, J. W. (2015, September). Asthma: definitions and pathophysiology. In International forum of allergy & rhinology (Vol. 5, No. S1, pp. S2-S6).

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