allergic asthma

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.
Related to allergic asthma: allergic rhinitis


a condition marked by recurrent attacks of dyspnea, with airway inflammation and wheezing due to spasmodic constriction of the bronchi; it is also known as bronchial asthma. Attacks vary greatly from occasional periods of wheezing and slight dyspnea to severe attacks that almost cause suffocation. An acute attack that lasts for several days is called status asthmaticus; this is a medical emergency that can be fatal. adj., adj asthmat´ic.
Causes. Asthma can be classified into three types according to causative factors. Allergic or atopic asthma (sometimes called extrinsic asthma) is due to an allergy to antigens; usually the offending allergens are suspended in the air in the form of pollen, dust, smoke, automobile exhaust, or animal dander. More than half of the cases of asthma in children and young adults are of this type. Intrinsic asthma is usually secondary to chronic or recurrent infections of the bronchi, sinuses, or tonsils and adenoids. There is evidence that this type develops from a hypersensitivity to the bacteria or, more commonly, viruses causing the infection. Attacks can be precipitated by infections, emotional factors, and exposure to nonspecific irritants. The third type of asthma, mixed, is due to a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors.

There is an inherited tendency toward the development of extrinsic asthma. It is related to a hypersensitivity reaction of the immune response. The patient often gives a family medical history that includes allergies of one kind or another and a personal history of allergic disorders. Secondary factors affecting the severity of an attack or triggering its onset include events that produce emotional stress, environmental changes in humidity and temperature, and exposure to noxious fumes or other airborne allergens.
Symptoms. Typically, an attack of asthma is characterized by dyspnea and a wheezing type of respiration. The patient usually assumes a classic sitting position, leaning forward so as to use all the accessory muscles of respiration. The skin is usually pale and moist with perspiration, but in a severe attack there may be cyanosis of the lips and nailbeds. In the early stages of the attack coughing may be dry; but as the attack progresses the cough becomes more productive of a thick, tenacious, mucoid sputum.
 An asthma attack with respiratory distress. From Frazier et al., 2000.
Treatment. The treatment of extrinsic asthma begins with attempts to determine the allergens causing the attacks. The cooperation of the patient is needed to relate onset of attacks with specific environmental substances and emotional factors that trigger or intensify symptoms. The patient with nonallergic asthma should avoid infections, nonspecific irritants, such as cigarette smoke, and other factors that provoke attacks.

Drugs given for the treatment of asthma are primarily used for the relief of symptoms. There is no cure for asthma but the disease can be controlled with an individualized regimen of drug therapy coupled with rest, relaxation, and avoidance of causative factors. Bronchodilators such as epinephrine and aminophylline may be used to enlarge the bronchioles, thus relieving respiratory embarrassment. Other drugs that thin the secretions and help in their ejection (expectorants) may also be prescribed.

The patient with status asthmaticus is very seriously ill and must receive special attention and medication to avoid excessive strain on the heart and severe respiratory difficulties that can be fatal.
Patient Care. Because asthma is a chronic condition with an irregular pattern of remissions and exacerbations, education of the patient is essential to successful treatment. The plan of care must be highly individualized to meet the needs of the patient and must be designed to encourage active participation in the prescribed program and in self care. Most patients welcome the opportunity to learn more about their disorder and ways in which they can exert some control over the environmental and emotional events that are likely to precipitate an attack.

Exercises that improve posture are helpful in maintaining good air exchange. Special deep breathing exercises can be taught to the patient so that elasticity and full expansion of lung and bronchial tissues are maintained. (See also lung and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.) Some asthmatic patients have developed a protective breathing pattern that is shallow and ineffective because of a fear that deep breathing will bring on an attack of coughing and wheezing. They will need help in breaking this pattern and learning to breathe deeply and fully expand the bronchi and lungs.

The patient should be encouraged to drink large quantities of fluids unless otherwise contraindicated. The extra fluids are needed to replace those lost during respiratory distress. The increased intake of fluids also can help thin the bronchial secretions so that they are more easily removed by coughing and deep breathing.

The patient should be warned of the hazards of extremes in eating, exercise, and emotional events such as prolonged laughing or crying. The key words are modification and moderation to avoid overtaxing and overstimulating the body systems. Relaxation techniques can be very helpful, especially if the patient can find a method that effectively reduces tension.

Asthmatic patients fare better if they feel that they do have some control over their disease and are not necessarily helpless victims of a debilitating incurable illness. There is no cure for asthma but there are ways in which one can adjust to the illness and minimize its effects.
allergic asthma (atopic asthma) that due to an atopic allergy; see asthma.
bronchial asthma asthma.
cardiac asthma a term applied to breathing difficulties due to pulmonary edema in heart disease, such as left ventricular failure.
extrinsic asthma
asthma caused by some factor in the environment, usually atopic in nature.
intrinsic asthma that due to a chronic or recurrent infection; see asthma.
occupational asthma extrinsic asthma due to an allergen present in the workplace.

allergic asthma

a form of asthma caused by exposure of the bronchial mucosa to an inhaled airborne antigen. The antigen causes the production of antibodies that bind to mast cells in the bronchial tree. The mast cells then release histamine, which stimulates contraction of bronchial smooth muscle and causes mucosal edema. Hyposensitization treatments are more effective for pollen sensitivity than for allergies to house dust, animal dander, mold, and insects. Psychological factors may provoke asthma attacks in bronchi already sensitized by antigens. Medication, including immunotherapy, can help relieve allergy symptoms. Often a diurnal pattern of histamine release occurs, causing variable degrees of bronchospasm at different times of the day. Also called atopic asthma, extrinsic asthma. See also asthma, asthma in children, asthmatic eosinophilia, status asthmaticus.

allergic asthma

A condition characterised by bronchoconstriction and shortness of breath.

Exacerbated by
Abrupt changes in temperature or humidity, allergies, URIs, exercise, stress, cigarette smoke.
Clinical findings
Wheezing, dyspnoea (especially when exhaling), chest tightness.
Oral or inhaled bronchodilators; corticosteroids if unresponsive; RhuMAb-E25, a humanised monoclonal antibody used for severe AA.

allergic asthma

Clinical immunology A condition characterized by bronchoconstriction and SOB Clinical Wheezing, dyspnea—especially exhaling, chest tightness Exacerbated by Abrupt changes in temperature or humidity, allergies, URIs, exercise, stress, cigarette smoke Management Bronchodilators; steroids if unresponsive; RhuMAb-E25, a humanized monoclonal antibody may be used in severe AA. See Asthma, Status asthmaticus.


a condition marked by recurrent attacks of dyspnea, with wheezing due to spasmodic constriction of the bronchi.
It is also known as bronchial asthma. Attacks vary greatly from occasional periods of wheezing and slight dyspnea to severe attacks that almost cause suffocation.

acute equine asthma
sudden attacks of respiratory distress in horses at pasture; the dyspnea responds dramatically to treatment with corticosteroids combined with antihistamines.
allergic asthma
extrinsic asthma; bronchial asthma due to allergy. Called also atopic asthma.
atopic asthma
see allergic asthma (above).
bronchial asthma
cardiac asthma
a term applied to breathing difficulties due to pulmonary edema in heart disease, such as left ventricular failure.
feline asthma
see feline bronchial asthma.

Patient discussion about allergic asthma

Q. How can I prevent my future Children from Inheriting my Allergies / Allergic Asthma? I have Allergies & Allergic ASTHMA, I have read about Childhood “Allergic MARCH " ... Is there ANYTHING my Husband & I can do before conception to prevent my Children from inheriting this terrible Disease?

A. does your husband have allergy in his family too? Allergies are environmental at least as much as they are genetic. There is the “hygiene hypothesis” that suggest allergies caused by lack of encounters of our immune system and pathogens. For example- There is a new experimental treatment that they insert a harmless parasite into your body and cause your immune system to react and “shift” it from one type of reaction to another.
Info about hygiene hypothesis:

More discussions about allergic asthma
References in periodicals archive ?
Airway infammation and eotaxin in exhaled breath condensate of patients with severe persistent allergic asthma during omalizumab therapy.
Identify and understand important and diverse types of therapeutics under development for Allergic Asthma.
Professor Brett Finlay, of the University of British Columbia, said: "It has long been suspected kids exposed to antibiotics are more prone to allergic asthma.
Allergic asthma is more likely to occur if you have allergies such as hay fever or a family history of allergies, or both.
The results of this particular study indicate that the inflammatory mediators investigated did not appear to be useful in differentiation between cats with naturally occurring allergic asthma and those with chronic bronchitis.
Bradley Schlagheck, who has danced for BalletX and Boston Ballet, suffers from both exercise-induced and allergic asthma.
Leukotriene modifiers are used as alternate therapy for the long-term control of mild and moderate persistent allergic asthma.
has reported the completion of enrollment in the company's Phase II proof-of-concept study of senicapoc in patients with allergic asthma.
Allergic asthma may result in chronic, irreversible remodeling of the bronchial architecture as indicated by increased smooth muscle and fibrosis around the airways, which is aggravated by mucus hypersecretion into the airway lumen.
For athletes with allergic asthma, it also takes strong determination.
Their first study, published in 2000, tested a blend of fourteen herbal extracts commonly used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine for allergic asthma.