Do Allergies Cause Asthma?
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Asthma is a chronic lung disorder that leads to breathing issues in adults and children. With potentially severe health implications, finding an asthma treatment is clearly an important task. At Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center, we regularly treat Atlanta patients who are unaware of the connection between their asthma and allergies. But do allergies actually cause asthma, and what can be done to treat this condition?
Are Allergies Causing Your Asthma?
One of the most common questions we get from parents of children with allergies is whether their child’s allergies can cause them to develop asthma. The short answer is no; allergies do not cause asthma. The two conditions are connected, so it would be natural to think that one causes the other. Children with allergies are at higher risk for developing asthma. Children of parents who have allergies or asthma are also more likely to develop one or the other; however, it is not a certainty. Many individuals with these risk factors never develop asthma.
On the other hand, roughly 75 percent of children with asthma also have allergies. These allergies can trigger or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Allergies are an over-reaction by the immune system to an otherwise harmless substance, such as dust mites, pet dander, or pollen. When a person with allergies is exposed to an allergen, their body produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E, which binds with the allergen. It also stimulates the release of histamine, which is the substance responsible for allergy symptoms that can affect various body systems, including the lungs. This is why so many asthma patients experience an increase in the frequency and duration of asthma symptoms during allergy season.
While allergy season can be a challenging time for anyone, whether a child or an adult of any age, it is possible to treat allergic asthma and keep symptoms under control. Sadly, there is no cure for allergic asthma, but the management of symptoms is achievable with a tailored treatment plan.
Identifying Allergy Triggers
If your child suffers from asthma, it is important to work with their doctor to determine if they also have allergies and, if so, to identify their particular trigger allergens. Once you determine the triggers, you can help your child avoid exposure. The doctor may also be able to recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications or allergy shots to desensitize your child to their trigger allergens. Of course, asthma symptoms can also be induced by non-allergens, such as exercise or cold air.
The process for diagnosing allergies is time-tested and reliable, with patients gaining a valuable awareness of their health situation. Initially, your allergist will discuss your reported allergy symptoms. And to provide even more clarity into likely triggers, your general medical history will be examined as well. Subsequently, allergy skin testing will screen for many types of allergies, including food allergies, allergic rhinitis, dust and mold. When results are inconclusive, blood sample analysis is often used. In addition, a patient will also have a spirometry test to help confirm or negate an asthma diagnosis.
If your child has allergies, you should help them avoid their suspected allergy triggers. If over-the-counter medications do not control your child’s symptoms, talk to their doctor about the possibility of prescription medications or immunotherapy. If your child does start exhibiting asthma symptoms, be sure to take them to the doctor for a complete evaluation.
Professional Allergic Asthma Testing and Treatment in the Atlanta Area
Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center offers diagnosis and treatment for allergic asthma, sinusitis and a range of common allergies. When you need assistance with allergies and more, visit us in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment today.