Asthma: What are the Different Types?

February 28, 2021 by ChestMed Pte Ltd.35

Asthma is one of those long-term conditions that affects the airways. It is characterized by the narrowing and inflammation inside the lungs (which restricts air supply). People with asthma may experience the following symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Breathlessness
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Increased mucus production

When the symptoms become severe, an asthma attack occurs. Asthma attacks can also happen all of a sudden. These attacks can also range from mild to life-threatening. In some instances, swelling in the airways prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs. That said, those who experience severe symptoms will require immediate asthma treatment 

Your doctor can prescribe the most suitable asthma treatment for your case and can give you guidance on the best ways to manage the symptoms of the condition.

The Different Types of Asthma

Asthma can occur in various ways but the triggers are almost always the same. Typically, some of the most prevalent asthma triggers include viruses, mold, pet dander, airborne pollutants, and cigarette smoke.

The different types of asthma include:

Childhood Asthma 

Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions in children. While the condition can develop at any stage, it is more common in children than in adults. In 2017 alone, a study indicated that children  between 5 to 14 are more likely to experience asthma. It also affected 4.4 percent of the children between 1 to 4 years old.

According to the American Lung Association, some of the most common childhood asthma triggers include:

  • Respiratory colds and infections
  • Allergens
  • Cigarette smoke (including secondhand tobacco smoke)
  • Exposure to cold air
  • Air pollutants (including particle and ozone pollution)
  • Drastic changes in temperature
  • Exercise
  • Stress 
  • Excitement 

It is crucial to seek immediate asthma treatment  if the child starts to experience asthma as it can be life-threatening in some cases. A doctor can also provide effective ways to effectively manage the condition.

In other cases, asthma can improve as the child reaches adulthood. For some people however, asthma can be a lifelong condition.

Adult-Onset Asthma

Asthma can develop at any age including adulthood. One study indicated that adults are more likely to have persistent asthma symptoms compared to children. Some factors that affect the risk of developing asthma in adulthood include: 

  • Respiratory illness
  • Hormonal factors
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Allergies (and exposure to allergens) 

Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma occurs when a person is exposed to an irritant or allergen that’s present in the workplace.

If you work in the following workplaces, allergens found in the job site may cause asthma if you already have sensitivity or allergy.

  • Kitchens, flour mills, and bakeries
  • Hospitals and other healthcare settings
  • Zoos, pet shops, and laboratories where animals are present
  • Farms (and other agricultural settings)

Irritants can also trigger asthma symptoms in the following occupations:

  • Manufacturing and car repairs
  • Metalwork and engineering
  • Carpentry and woodwork
  • Electronics and assembly industries
  • Hairdressing salons
  • Indoor swimming pools

People who are more at risk include:

  • Those who smoke
  • Those who have allergic rhinitis
  • Those who have a history of environmental allergies or asthma

A person’s work environment can also start adult-onset asthma or trigger the return of childhood asthma.

Difficult to Control and Severe Asthma

Some research indicates that around 5 to 10 percent of those with asthma have severe asthma. Some people also have symptoms that are not directly related to asthma. For instance, they probably have not learned how to use an inhaler properly yet.

Others also suffer from severe refractory asthma. Several cases won’t respond to treatment even with high dosages of medication. Eosinophilic asthma is another type that won’t respond to medications. While some people can manage asthma with usual medications, others can benefit from specific biologic therapies.

ChestMed Pte Ltd.


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