Understanding the Link Between Allergy and Asthma

Allergy is one of the most frequent complications of asthma.

• Allergic reaction is found in over 80% of children with asthma and in more than 60% of adults with asthma.

• All allergens can cause asthma: dust mites, pollens, latex, mold, drugs, insects, anesthetics, and certain food.

These various factors are involved in varying proportions from one individual to another. At the same person, they may also occur in varying proportions depending on the development and severity of asthma.

• The genetic or hereditary predisposition: often found in the family with one or more asthma sufferers. This tendency corresponds to an enhanced sensitivity to one or more allergens such as pollen, animals or others.

• Viral infections

• Active and passive smoking

• Cold, dry environment

• Excessive physical activities

• Stress: Stress and anxiety are possible triggers for an asthma attack. Many asthma patients reported more severe symptoms when facing difficulties in their work or home life.

• Chemical irritants: paints, solvents, aerosols, deodorants

• Air pollution

Links between allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma have been known for many years. The walls of the bronchi and nose react the same way when there is a presence of allergens.

Asthma and allergic rhinitis are both signs of airway inflammation.

• 40% of people with allergic rhinitis will develop asthma in later years.

• Many patients with asthma also have signs of allergic rhinitis: 80% of asthmatics have allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis can sometimes worsen symptoms of asthma if left untreated.

Early treatment of allergic rhinitis prevents the onset of asthma. Unfortunately many people have rhinitis that causes disruptions in their daily life.

Allergy examination should be routinely performed if rhinitis persists for several months and worsen over the years. A breath test consisting of a PFT, pulmonary function testing is routinely performed in a person with allergic rhinitis in order to verify the presence of asthma that could go unnoticed.

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