The Different Types of Asthma — Explained

Find out the symptoms of the main types of asthma.

Although we usually think of it as one disease, there are actually many different types of asthma. Here’s an overview of the main types, and what you need to know about each:

Allergic Asthma

Certain substances can trigger an asthma attack, such as pollen, mold, pets, and cockroaches. Avoid triggers whenever possible, and to talk to your doctor about taking allergy medication.

Exercise-Induced Asthma

Sometimes physical exertion can cause people to have flare-ups and can trigger an attack. If you exercise, always be aware of your breathing while working out and be prepared to take action if an attack takes place.

Occupational Asthma

This type asthma is usually in response to a certain chemical you may be exposed to at work. It’s similar to allergic asthma because there’s a specific chemical triggering an asthma attack. The difference is that typically, the chemical is an irritant, not an allergen. As with allergic asthma, the best prevention is to avoid the trigger.

Eosinophilic Asthma

Eosinophils are white blood cells, which are a normal part of the immune system. Among other things, eosinophils help cause swelling, which is part of the way the body fights germs. But too much swelling can cause problems. People with eosinophilic asthma have too many of these cells in their lungs, leading to excess inflammation, asthma symptoms and attacks. Your doctor can give you a blood test to determine if you have this type of asthma, which is treated with medication.

Cough-Variant Asthma

This is characterized by a predominance of coughing and fewer of the other typical symptoms. Its causes can be wide-ranging.

There are also other types of asthma you may have heard about, such as nocturnal asthma, medication-induced asthma, asthma without allergies, and more. The main differences between all types of asthma are the triggers and the symptoms. However, in all cases your lungs are experiencing inflammation and your airways are constricted. Although there are many different causes, doctors typically prescribe medication based on the frequency and severity of your symptoms.

Related:

The Anti-Allergy Diet

New Studies on How to Prevent Food Allergies

See What Your Lungs Look Like During an Asthma Attack