Knowing the types of asthma can help you treat your disease better. Find out all about the different types and improve your health.
Asthma is a widespread disease in the general population. Therefore, knowing its causative agents in detail is essential to find the appropriate treatment in each case.
Asthma is a disease with various clinical types, characterized by chronic inflammation of the respiratory tubes, which makes it difficult for air flow to the lungs. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that it is a very common pathology, since up to 7% of adults suffer from it.
This same institution estimates that 250,000 deaths occur annually from this cause. Despite the fact that there are more than 235 million people with asthma in the world, 80% of deaths are distributed in low-income countries.
For this reason, whether for empathy or prevention, we are going to report on the types of asthma and their characteristics. If you want to know more about the subject, keep reading.
What is asthma?
According to the Continuing Medicine Program, a technical definition of asthma would be to emphasize that it is a chronic inflammation of the airways, accompanied by episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough. In particular, at night, it is the airflow obstruction that is reversible.
Despite this, professional portals such as the National Library of Medicine of the United States warn us of the following: not all patients have the same symptoms and not all respiratory difficulties are associated with asthma.
Types of asthma
Beyond a strict definition of the term, the Heart, Lung, and Blood Society stresses that there are different causes of asthma. According to its causative agent, a series of clinical types can also be cataloged. We expose them to you below.
Allergies and asthma tend to occur together. During an allergic reaction, the proteins of the immune system mistakenly identify a harmless substance as a potential pathogen.
Therefore, in an attempt to protect the body, these substances adhere to the allergen and cause inflammatory responses, a runny nose, puffy eyes, or skin reactions. When it affects the airways, the patient suffers from asthma. More than 100 immune cell types and molecular pathways may play a role here.
According to the Subiza Clinic, which is an asthma and allergy center, the seasonal extrinsic type is that form of the disease that responds to hypersensitivity reactions to different types of pollens. Although it is related to the allergic variant, it is characterized by presenting an expected pattern during the different months of the year.
This is because, for the patient to present symptoms, it is necessary that the pollen is in sufficient concentration in the atmosphere, which only happens during the flowering season of the plants that produce it. Thus, this type of asthma depends on the biological cycle of vegetables.
As indicated by sources already cited, non-allergic or intrinsic asthma corresponds to 19% of the cases presented in consultation. It is clear that it does not respond to allergic processes from external agents, but beyond that, the etiopathogenesis of this variant is unknown.
Beyond this, infections of the bronchial tree can get worse and exacerbate this clinical picture. The presence of bacteria or viruses complicates the usual signs of asthma, leading to complications.
According to the Mayo Clinic, occupational asthma is one that occurs due to the inhalation of chemical fumes, gases, poisons, dusts and other compounds during work activity.
It is not a pathological difference in itself, as it responds to an allergic, immune, or lung tissue damage process by toxic agents, like the rest of the types of asthma. The difference is that, in this case, the condition is due to work.
The other term for this variant is exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Exercise or straining can cause the airways to narrow, but it does not cause asthma on its own.
In summary, the patient with asthma will present it, whether he exercises or not. The difference is that this physical effort can show the symptoms of the disease.
The division according to severity levels
Now you know the types of asthma based on the causative agent, it is time to know the final classification. According to organizations, such as Healthychildren, the severity of the disease proposes another approach system that is the following:
Mild persistent: Symptoms of this type of asthma occur more than twice a week, but less than once a day. The asthmatic attack can affect the activity, but the lung capacity is placed in 80% of the expected or more.
Moderate persistent asthma: This is the case if symptoms occur on a daily basis. Without treatment, lung function is between 60% and 80% of normal.
Severe persistent: symptoms occur with high frequency. Lung function is below 60% without treatment.
Remember that there is a type of intermittent asthma in which the signs appear less than once a week. While the person is out of the specific episodes, the patient does not have breathing difficulties.
What to remember about the asthma types?
The types of asthma can be classified according to the causative agent that gives rise to the pathology. Depending on the nature of the root of the problem, the treatment varies. Some approaches are more conservative, with inhalers only at the time of physical activity, while others require constant medication.
In any case, asthma has a specific clinical picture, beyond the variety. It involves inflammation, intermittent obstruction, and hyperresponsiveness of the airways.
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