According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of U.S. residents who suffer with asthma increased by nearly 30 percent in the past 15 years. Today, the disease affects one in 12 people.
Allergies, too, are on the rise. In fact, they have shown a steady increase over the past 50 years. Today, about 20 percent of Americans have some kind of allergy.
Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma, and if you’re wondering what asthma has to do with allergies, here’s a play-by-play synopsis:
- Your immune system encounters a pollen granule drifting through the air.
- Rather than simply ignoring it, your immune system mistakes it as a harmful element.
- Your immune system attempts to “fight off” the pollen granule by releasing chemicals into the body.
- In trying to defend itself, your body really hurts itself. The chemicals cause inflammation of body tissues, including the airways.
- Your airways become narrow from the inflammation. Mucus backs up in them. You find it hard to breathe and begin wheezing.
And to think that it all started with that harmless little pollen granule! Of course, pollen isn’t the only culprit behind allergic asthma. Dust, pet dander, and mold can also set off your allergic asthma. So, too, can certain foods you may be allergic to.
If you do have allergic asthma, pills and inhalers can help, but if you want to get to the root of the problem, allergy treatment may be for you.
Talk to your doctor if you think your asthma may be allergic in nature. If you have other allergy symptoms or if you have a family history of allergies, you may be well be part of the growing number of Americans with allergic asthma. And if you’re scared of allergy shots or simply don’t want to deal with the hassle, consider an alternate form of immunotherapy (sublingual immunotherapy) that works through under-the-tongue drops instead of shots and can be administered at home.