Understanding and Coping with Asthma
Asthma is a common health condition which makes it difficult to breathe. When it is severe,
asthma can be a life threatening condition. While the broad term ‘asthma’ is often used to
describe this condition, there are actually many different types of asthma. The different
categories of asthma are based on the various triggers that can cause asthma symptoms or
attacks to appear.
Allergic asthma occurs when an individual’s asthma is triggered by a reaction to allergens such
as pet dander or pollen. Family history can play a role in being at risk for this type of asthma. In
some cases, individuals may experience what is known as seasonal asthma. In this type of
asthma, individuals most often experience asthma symptoms during certain seasons, especially
when pollen is released in the air. Spring is often the worst time for this type of asthma. The
presence of ragweed in the fall can also trigger seasonal asthma.
Non allergic asthma does not have any association with allergies. In this case, individuals may
experience difficulty breathing due to triggers such as irritants in the air. These irritants may
include wood smoke, tobacco smoke, pine odors, room deodorizers, cleaning products, fresh
paint, air pollution and perfumes. Even changes in the air temperature or exercises can also
induce a non allergic asthma attack.
Another category of asthma is exercise induced asthma. These types of asthma attacks are
induced by physical activity. In some cases, asthma may be triggered during the night. This type
of asthma attack commonly occurs in the early hours of the morning and may also be present in
specific types of asthma, such as allergic asthma and non allergic asthma.
Women who have asthma and become pregnant may also experience a higher concentration of
asthma attacks during their pregnancies.
Asthma may also be triggered by an occupational trigger, such as fume or dusts that are in the
air where the individual works. The best way to cope with this type of asthma is to reduce the
concentration of agents in the air.
In learning how to cope with asthma, it is important to discuss with a healthcare provider the
exact type of asthma that is present. This can help to choose the correct treatment as well as to
learn how to effectively cope with it. In most instances, the best way to cope with asthma is to
reduce exposure to specific triggers.