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Asthma Types- All Asthma Types Are Not the Same

What You Need to Know and Do About Different Asthma Types


Updated June 10, 2014

Did you know that there are several different asthma types? Understanding what type of asthma you have may help you prevent asthma symptoms and take more effective steps when you develop asthma symptoms

Allergic Asthma

This asthma type accounts for nearly 60% of all asthma. Airway obstruction and typical asthma symptoms that are associated with allergies and triggered by allergens. It is important to be able to identify what triggers your asthma. Examples of common triggers include pollens, molds, dust mites and animal dander.

Non-Allergic Asthma

About one third of all asthma sufferers have non-allergic asthma. This asthma type is caused by viral infections and other irritants. Examples of things that may lead to non-allergic asthma include:

Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA)

Exercise induced asthma (EIA), or more commonly referred to by your asthma care provider as exercise induced bronchoconstriction, is when your airways narrow and you develop asthma symptoms as a result of exercise.

EIA may worsen your asthma or you may only have asthma symptoms when you exercise. It is important to realize that exercise does not cause asthma, but is a trigger that may make you have asthma symptoms.

Occupational Asthma

Did you know that your work environment may put you at risk for asthma? Work related exposures to things like dusts and chemicals are important causes of both new cases and worsening of asthma. Asthma may result from either direct irritation of your lungs or through sensitization to the offending substance.

Cough Variant Asthma

While cough may accompany the usual symptoms associated with asthma, cough alone may be a precursor to or the sole symptom in an asthmatic. When cough is the only asthma symptom, this is known as cough variant asthma (CVA).

Medication Induced Asthma

Most people don't think about over the counter products worsening their asthma, but this can be very important for a small group of people. But for some asthma patients, over the counter pain medications can be very dangerous.

Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) can worsen asthma or even be fatal. With this type of sensitivity you need to stay away from drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac as they may trigger asthma attacks if you have asthma.

Nocturnal Asthma

If you have wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath at night, your symptoms may represent worsening of your regular asthma or represent nocturnal asthma as a separate diagnosis. Nearly 75% of asthmatics experience nighttime symptoms like cough at least once per week and as many as 40% experience nocturnal symptoms on a nightly basis.

Glucocorticoids Resistant Asthma

While the glucocorticoids are one of the most potent anti-inflammatory drugs available and are normally very effective in the treatment of asthma, a small group of patients do not respond to these medications and are often labeled as 'steroid resistant.'

Other Conditions that Mimic Asthma

All that wheezes is not asthma. Some common and uncommon disease may also cause you to wheeze.


O'Byrne, Paul. Patient Information. Accessed May 5, 2009. Exercise Induced Asthma

Storms WW. Accessed May 22, 2009. Asthma Associated With Exercise. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2005 Feb;25(1):31-43

Dicpinigaitis, Peter V. Accessed May 1, 2009. Chronic Cough Due to Asthma: ACCP Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines

Sutherland ER. Nocturnal asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Dec;116(6):1179-86.

Martin RJ. UpToDate. Nocturnal asthma. Accessed April 5, 2009.

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