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- Asthma Myths and Facts
- Asthma FAQs
- Patient Comments: Asthma - Symptoms
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- Patient Comments: Asthma - Types
- Find a local Asthma & Allergy Specialist in your town
- What is the definition of asthma?
- Asthma vs. COPD
- What are risk factors and causes of asthma?
- What are the different types of asthma?
- What are asthma symptoms and signs?
- How is asthma diagnosed?
- What are asthma treatment options? Are there home remedies for asthma?
- What should someone do when experiencing an asthma attack?
- What is an asthma action plan?
- What is the prognosis for asthma?
- Is it possible to prevent asthma?
Quick GuideWhat is Asthma? Asthma Myths Debunked
What are the different types of asthma?
The many potential triggers of asthma largely explain the different ways in which asthma can present. In most cases, the disease starts in early childhood from 2-6 years of age. In this age group, the cause of asthma is often linked to exposure to allergens, such as dust mites, tobacco smoke, and viral respiratory infections. In very young children, less than 2 years of age, asthma can be difficult to diagnose with certainty. Wheezing at this age often follows a viral infection and might disappear later, without ever leading to asthma. Asthma, however, can develop again in adulthood. Adult-onset asthma occurs more often in women, mostly middle-aged, and frequently follows a respiratory tract infection. The triggers in this group are usually nonallergic in nature.
Types: allergic (extrinsic) and nonallergic (intrinsic) asthma
Your doctor may refer to asthma as being "extrinsic" or "intrinsic." A better understanding of the nature of asthma can help explain the differences between them. Extrinsic, or allergic asthma, is more common and typically develops in childhood. Approximately 70%-80% of children with asthma also have documented allergies. Typically, there is a family history of allergies. Additionally, other allergic conditions, such as nasal allergies or eczema, are often also present. Allergic asthma often goes into remission in early adulthood. However, in many cases, the asthma reappears later.
Intrinsic asthma represents a small amount of all cases. It usually develops after the age of 30 and is not typically associated with allergies. Women are more frequently affected and many cases seem to follow a respiratory tract infection. Obesity also appears to be a risk factor for this type of asthma. Intrinsic asthma can be difficult to treat and symptoms are often chronic and year-round.