Extrinsic Asthma VS Intrinsic Asthma

Initially asthma is categorized into two: the extrinsic asthma and the intrinsic asthma.

But this classification is elaborated; the extrinsic asthma is renamed as the allergic asthma while the intrinsic asthma is divided further into exercise induced asthma and the chemical induced asthma. Following is the discussion on each of these categories of asthma and the measures to be taken to treat them.

Extrinsic asthma

This is triggered by allergens. Hence, it is also termed as allergic asthma. In extrinsic asthma, immune system which exerts a protective mechanism reacts to simple harmless substances such as pollen and produces antibodies. This results in symptoms like hay fever, rhinitis and asthma. In case of asthma, the allergic reaction is observed in lungs which results in production of huge amounts of mucus that obstructs the air passage. Steroids which are generally used to control the symptoms of asthma restrict the immune systems reaction to allergens. Restricting the contact of allergens reduces the severity of asthma.

Extrinsic asthma is commonly seen in children. About ninety percent of childhood asthma cases are due to allergens. Individuals with a family history of allergens are at more risk for extrinsic asthma.

Symptoms of extrinsic asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest pain due to pressure and heaviness.

There is no permanent cure for extrinsic asthma but the symptoms can be controlled by avoiding exposure to allergens. Use of bronchodilators and antihistamines helps to reduce the severity of the symptoms. Prednisone and immunotherapy are recommended in severe cases.

Intrinsic asthma

It is very hard to treat intrinsic asthma as the causative agent is unknown, unlike the extrinsic asthma where the restriction of allergen improves the situation. It is generally caused by extremes of emotional feelings like laughing, crying, or contact with chemicals like cigarette smoke, aspirin, cleaning agents or chest infection or exercises. These agents act by stimulating the response of the nerves in the air passage.

Exercise induced asthma is a subtype of intrinsic asthma. It is generally seen immediately after exercising.

A subtype of asthma called the nocturnal asthma is observed in the early hours of the night in between 2 to 4. It is common with both extrinsic and intrinsic asthma patients. It is essential to treat this type of asthma to prevent deaths due to asthma in sleep.

Before you start to treat asthma, it is essential to know the type of asthma to have effective results within a very short period. Most of them have a mixed type of asthma that is triggered by allergens as well as conditions like extreme cold and by chemicals. A regular practice of yoga helps to gain control over the symptoms naturally without the use of drugs. There are a great number of herbal remedies for asthma. They include ephedra, lobelia, licorice and grindelia. Each of them shows specific effects as well as side effects. They have to be used carefully if you have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure. However, the best practice is to take the advice of a physician and use the medications as recommended and to take precautions like restricting the exposure to allergens, drinking plenty of fluids and regular yoga practice.


  1. The information has really helped me, may God Almighty bless u.

  2. Finally a clear explanation I can work with!

  3. Very informative article. Now I can contribute to the discussion about asthma in our sessions.

  4. I learned alot, trying to code asthma is difficult…

  5. Simple, easy to understand for any age (I am a high school student).

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