The Different Types Of Asthma
Early Onset Asthma or Atopic or Extrinsic Asthma: Its onset is in early childhood and generally occurs in atopic individuals who form IgE antibodies to commonly encountered allergens. These allergens can be easily identified by skin hypersensitivity tests which produce positive reactions to a wide range of common allergens. Other allergic diseases, like allergic rhinitis and eczema, are generally present. There is also a family history of asthma.
In this type of asthma allergens are inhaled (inspired) through air and are derived from animal dander, feathers, house dust, mites and fungal spores etc. These allergens provoke bronchial constriction and an inflammatory reaction of allergic type in the bronchial wall. If a patient is already allergic to such allergens, his asthmatic symptoms will aggravate as soon as he again comes into contact with them.
Similar effects may be created by ingested allergens derived from food items like eggs, fish, wheat, milk, yeast which are said to enter the bronchi by means of blood stream.
Late Onset of Asthma : Majority of asthma patients develop asthma in later years of life and they are called, Non-atopic individuals. There is not much evidence to prove that this type of asthma is triggered by extrinsic factors, hence it is rightly called ‘intrinsic’ asthma.
Chronic Asthma: Wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, along with spontaneous cough, labored breathing or breathlessness on exertion are symptoms of chronic asthma. Recurrent episodes of frank respiratory infection is common in this variety of asthma.
Episodic Asthma : Here the patient has no respiratory symptoms between two episodes of asthma but paroxysms of wheeze and dyspnoea (shortness of breath) may occur at any time and may be of sudden onset. Episodes of asthma can be caused by exercise, viral infections, allergens, common cold or else may be apparently spontaneous. Attack could be either severe or mild and may last for hours, days, or even weeks/months.
Episodes of asthma can be triggered in atopic patients but asthma is often aggravated by non-specific factors such as respiratory viral infection, emotional stress, acrid fumes, dust, cold air, tobacco smoke. Drugs, such as aspirin, NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), beta-antagonists, may also cause asthma.