Allergic asthma is the most common type of bronchial asthma that occurs in both children and adults. The allergic form of the disease accounts for three quarters of cases of diagnostics of bronchial pathology. The danger of the situation lies in the fact that at the initial stage the symptoms are poorly expressed.
Asthma symptoms often coincide with the clinical picture of lung disease and do not immediately come to the attention of doctors. It is important to know how asthma manifests itself and how to treat it. This will avoid the development of serious complications and stop dangerous symptoms in time.
What is allergic bronchial asthma
The allergic form of bronchial asthma (atopic asthma) is the response of the bronchopulmonary system to the effects of allergens. Once in the body, these irritants cause an inflammatory reaction that leads to narrowing and swelling of the bronchi. The disease is manifested by attacks of coughing and choking, the frequency of which increases with the development of bronchial obstruction.
The period of exacerbation of the disease is associated with the development of allergies. Attacks appear after contact with a certain type of allergen. The body’s reaction occurs immediately. The patient’s condition worsens. The severe stage of the inflammatory process causes serious complications, an asthma attack can be fatal.
The mechanism of development and causes of allergic asthma
The pathogenesis of bronchial allergic asthma still raises questions from specialists. A response inflammatory process from the bronchi is formed with the participation of many cellular structures under the influence of an allergen.
When an irritant enters the body, individual blood cells are activated. They produce substances that are responsible for inflammatory processes in the body. The receptors of the muscle cells of the bronchi respond to any action of active substances.
The smooth muscles of the bronchi are reduced. The resulting spasm leads to a decrease in the lumen of the airways. The patient has difficulty breathing, especially when exhaling. Shortness of breath appears, an attack of suffocation, the outcome of which cannot be predicted.
Depending on what type of allergen caused the disorder, several forms of allergic asthma are distinguished:
The body is sensitive to components in house dust. These can be dust mites, fragments of insect bodies, saliva and hair of domestic animals, epithelial particles and human hair, bacteria, tissue fibers.
The period of exacerbation occurs in the winter. The attack is long. Relief comes after the source of the allergy is eliminated. An allergic reaction to dust can also provoke the development of chronic bronchitis. This is one of the most common allergens and is very difficult to deal with.
The premises must be kept perfectly clean. Daily wet cleaning using a minimum amount of cleaning agents is a must for an allergic person. Household asthma is often associated with allergies to cleaning chemicals.
Aggravated during flowering plants. At first, a runny nose appears, then suffocation. It is impossible to avoid allergies in spring, as the allergen is common in the inhaled air.
In some cases, seizures appear at other times of the year when any flowering plants are nearby. A patient with a pollen form of an allergic disease should always have a medicine on hand. It is important not to bring to the manifestation of an attack of suffocation and take the drug on time.
Increased sensitivity to mold spores. Allergies occur at any time of the year. In winter, relief is felt. Attacks often occur at night and during rainy times. This is the most difficult to diagnose type of disease.
For a long time, the patient does not even know what provokes the body’s reaction. This form of asthma can be caused by mold in damp places. Therefore, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the places in the living quarters where there is high humidity.
Regardless of what caused the allergy, in what form it manifests itself, asthma can cause serious complications in the work of other organ systems.
Among the causes of the inflammatory process in the bronchi, it should be noted:
- chronic infectious diseases of the respiratory system;
- long-term use of medications that affect the respiratory system;
- poor environmental situation in the area of human residence, when the surrounding air contains particles irritating the bronchial mucosa;
- professional activities related to chemical production or interaction with chemical substances (often this is a disease of people employed in the perfumery and pharmaceutical business);
- unbalanced diet, which includes foods with a high content of preservatives and other substances (many food additives, for example, in semi-finished products, fast food products can be an allergen);
- hereditary predisposition (if there are cases of asthma among relatives, the likelihood of developing the disease is higher).
If most of the causes contributing to the formation of an asthmatic inflammatory process can be eliminated, then the hereditary factor causes changes at the cellular level. Pathology can manifest itself in a newborn baby. In this case, complex measures will be required to eliminate dangerous symptoms. It is important to prevent the development of status asthmaticus.
Allergic asthma in a child develops faster, as the immune system cannot cope with the resulting reaction of the body. The disease in childhood requires a special approach to treatment, taking into account individual characteristics and the impossibility of using the entire spectrum of medicines in children.
Risk factors include tobacco smoking (active and passive), smoke from fireworks, candles, aromatic substances in perfumes, eau de toilette, and air fresheners. An allergic reaction can occur due to a strong psycho-emotional shock.
The severity of the disease
Depending on the severity of symptoms in medical science, 4 degrees of severity of the disease are distinguished:
- Stage 1 – intermittent asthma.
Attacks disturb the patient rarely: during the day – once every 7-10 days, at night – once every two weeks. The period of exacerbation does not last long and usually does not limit the life of a person;
- Stage 2 – mild persistent asthma.
The frequency of manifestation of seizures increases: up to 5-7 cases per month during the daytime, more than 2 cases per month at night. At the same time, the activity of the patient decreases, the attacks do not allow sleep;
- Stage 3 – persistent asthma of moderate severity.
Coughing and choking attacks occur every day. Nocturnal aggravation worries once a week. With the transition of the disease to stage 3, the patient is forced to abandon the usual way of life. He is severely limited in physical activity, during an exacerbation at night it is impossible to sleep;
- Stage 4 – persistent asthma in severe form.
Suffocating attacks disturb the patient day and night. Their number increases up to 8-10 times a day. A person experiences difficulty in movement, loses the ability to fully breathe in and out, which can lead to loss of consciousness.
Treating severe asthma with traditional methods does not work. In times of exacerbation, urgent medical attention may be needed.
Symptoms of allergic asthma in adults are normal. With non-allergic asthma, the patient experiences the same sensations.
The manifestations of allergic asthma are as follows:
- difficulty breathing in and out. In this case, it is more difficult to exhale than inhale;
- severe shortness of breath, which appears a couple of minutes after contact with an allergen;
- wheezing and whistling when breathing. The slow passage of air through the narrowed respiratory tract produces characteristic sounds;
- paroxysmal cough with viscous sputum. Sometimes this single symptom is not taken into account or is interpreted as a sign of a cold;
- specific posture of the patient during an attack, when he rests his hands on a horizontal surface.
Attacks in allergic asthma can be of varying severity. With severe exacerbation, the likelihood of status asthmaticus is high. This is a condition in which a person experiences lingering choking and drug therapy does not bring relief. Against the background of oxygen starvation, the patient may lose consciousness and even die. Requires immediate hospitalization in the hospital department.
Before the onset of an attack, the patient’s condition changes. There are first signs indicating the approach of an attack and the progression of the disease:
- cough, especially at night;
- increased breathing;
- during exercise – shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue;
- symptoms of colds (runny nose, lacrimation, headache).
These symptoms resemble the onset of respiratory illness. The patient does not pay attention to the characteristic cough and begins to take medications for the common cold, aggravating the condition.
Special attention is paid to the diagnosis of the disease, since it is easy to confuse it with other pathologies. The doctor takes into account the patient’s complaints, characteristic symptoms.
The following research methods can provide information about allergic asthma:
- spirometry (respiratory function is investigated);
- cytological examination of sputum;
- tests to determine the type of allergen;
- X-ray examination of the chest area;
- blood test for biochemical parameters.
Having found out which substance became the causative agent of the allergy, the doctor prescribes the appropriate treatment. Its main goal is to minimize the reaction to the allergen.
Limiting contact with the allergen – the main principle of treatment of allergic bronchial asthma. Medications are prescribed to prevent or minimize the occurrence of seizures. They help keep symptoms under control and cope with worsening conditions.
Symptomatic treatment includes taking medications of a different spectrum of action – bronchodilators , anti-inflammatory, antihistamines, leukotriene modifiers .
- bronchodilator drugs
The main mechanism of action is associated with relaxation of the smooth muscles of the bronchi and their expansion.
Bronchodilators are used to relieve an attack and are long-acting or short-acting. Usually drugs in this group are used for short-term use. They only alleviate the symptoms and should always be at hand. Continuous use of drugs in this group reduces the effectiveness of therapy.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs.
The therapeutic effect is achieved by acting on the substances involved in the development of inflammation. As a result, the sensitivity of organs to stimuli decreases.
These medicines should be taken every day until a lasting therapeutic effect appears.
They are used to eliminate allergy symptoms. They reduce the body’s response to histamine, which is involved in the development of major allergic manifestations.
- Leukotriene modifiers .
Leukotrienes are substances that are produced
in our body. Due to their effect, the airway lumen is narrowed. This produces excess mucus. Modifiers inhibit these processes, prevent bronchospasm.
Inhalation drugs are very popular in the treatment of adults and children. Their long-term use allows you to control the manifestations of asthma by reducing the sensitivity of the bronchi.
Inhalers can contain different substances:
- Glucocorticoids. The drugs are used to treat severe asthma. They have side effects and are prescribed by a doctor, taking into account the individual intolerance of the body to the components of the drug. Inhaled drugs are more effective.
- Sympathomimetics. The main action is aimed at increasing the lumen of the bronchi. Immediate neutralization of the attack and the rapid elimination of the drug from the body are the main characteristics of this group of drugs.
- Methylxanthines . They are used during the period of asthmatic exacerbation. By blocking adrenergic receptors , the drugs relieve smooth muscle spasm, which makes it easier for the patient to breathe.
It is necessary to treat allergic asthma at the first sign of the disease.
If a patient with bronchial asthma also has chronic disorders of the cardiovascular system, it is necessary to warn the doctor about this. Many drugs prescribed for heart disease are contraindicated in asthma.
An integral part of therapy for allergic asthma is breathing exercises. Usually Buteyko gymnastics is prescribed, which allows you to quickly and effectively get rid of asthmatic manifestations.
In the process of performing tasks, the depth of breathing and the amount of carbon dioxide contained in the patient’s blood decrease. It is his excess and lack of oxygen that are a consequence of the narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi.
Before exercising, you should consult your doctor. Gymnastics requires preparation, during which the patient performs simple actions:
- sits directly on any hard surface (chair, sofa, floor), relaxing;
- breathes in and out quickly, superficially;
- exhales weakly through the nose;
- holds your breath as much as possible.
All actions are carried out within 10-12 minutes. The procedure may be accompanied by slight dizziness. The patient feels that he does not have enough air. After all the manipulations have been completed, you can proceed to the tasks.
At the initial stage of the exercise, the patient experiences unpleasant feelings: lack of air, inability to breathe fully, fear. But this should not be the reason for the termination of classes. Gymnastics should be done daily. Over time, these symptoms will subside and the asthma attacks disappear.
There is a method of treatment based on the elimination of an allergic reaction – SIT therapy. This procedure is carried out in the absence of exacerbation. This usually occurs in the autumn-winter time, when the patient feels relief. The purpose of the therapeutic method is to form the body’s immunity to allergens that cause the development of pathology and its exacerbation.
The essence of the method is that a substance to which there is an allergy is injected into the patient’s body for a certain time. Its dosage is gradually increased. As a result, the allergen is no longer perceived as an irritant and does not lead to bronchospasm. The earlier the allergen is introduced, the higher the effectiveness of this method.
Treatment for allergic asthma is carried out using various groups of drugs. When using medicines, it is important to consider contraindications. Most drugs should not be taken by children under 6 years of age.
Allergic asthma in children
Allergic asthma in children has its own characteristics. This is due to the fact that the child’s body has not yet formed. The disease can manifest itself in a child at any age.
It often has symptoms similar to chronic bronchitis. If an allergic nature of coughing attacks is suspected, periods of exacerbation throughout the year are monitored. If there are more than five of them, you need to see a specialist.
Prevention of allergic asthma
There are no specific preventive measures for allergic asthma. To reduce the frequency of periods of exacerbation, it is necessary to exclude contact with allergens. The implementation of simple recommendations will allow you to avoid the development of asthmatic manifestations:
- maintain the required air humidity in the room;
- carry out wet cleaning on time;
- eat right, excluding foods with an allergen from the diet;
- change bed linen weekly.
Patients with asthma need to remember that preventive measures will not cure their illness, but only reduce the frequency of exacerbations. Allergies tend to manifest themselves at any time.
Only a careful attitude to your health will allow you to avoid dangerous manifestations.