Asthma is a chronic disease that can occur at any age and is characterized by inflammation, a condition of the airways that carry air into and out of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe in and out naturally.
There are different types of asthma, and among them, allergic asthma is the most common. In fact, in the United States alone, this subtype affects approximately 60% of people with asthma in that country. Global data estimates, for their part, that allergic asthma occurs in 53-69% of all patients with asthma.
The link between asthma and allergies
Allergies and asthma often occur together. Even people with a genetic predisposition to develop skin or food allergies are more likely to suffer from allergic asthma.
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system identifies a foreign substance as an invader. In an attempt to protect the body from what it considers harmful, the body reacts by causing allergy signs and symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, puffy eyes, or skin reactions. In some people, this same reaction also affects the lungs and airways, leading to asthma symptoms.
In the case of allergic asthma, environmental exposure to mold, moisture, mites, dust, tobacco smoke, etc. is associated with respiratory symptoms.
Eight out of 10 people with allergic asthma may develop other allergic conditions such as eczema, hives, atopic dermatitis, nasal polyps, allergic rhinitis, or food allergies. Rhinitis, for example, affects the majority of patients with asthma, 75% in cases of allergic asthma with a prevalence of 15 to 40%. The intensity of rhinitis is directly related to the severity of asthma.
Similarly, the comorbidity of rhinitis with other allergic diseases such as conjunctivitis and asthma is increasingly common. Similarly relevant is the association of rhinitis with food allergies and atopic dermatitis.
What to do if allergic asthma is suspected?
First of all, faced with the manifestation of respiratory symptoms, it is important to consult a specialist for an official diagnosis of bronchial asthma. There are several subtypes of asthma and manifestations of the disease, and each of them requires a specific clinical approach. In many cases, the disease is not properly diagnosed, in part because it shares symptoms with other common respiratory diseases.
To this situation is added the normalization of symptoms by patients who often ignore them and do not seek medical help. In fact, it is estimated that between 70% and 79% of adults over 40 with asthma do not know they have it, and only 28% adequately control the disease.
For this reason, at GSK, we encourage Colombians with respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here are some tips that can also help people with allergic asthma avoid risk factors:
· Keep your premises free of dust, mites and pets.
· Avoid tobacco use and exposure to smoke.
Reduce outdoor activity during high pollution hours.
· See a nutritionist for advice on proper nutrition.
· Reduce the use of harsh chemicals or overly scented products at home.
“From GSK, we want to bring those living with breathing problems closer to improving their quality of life by accessing innovative treatments and encouraging them to make changes in their daily lives so they can live every breath, asthma and allergies. your doctor,” said Carolina Duarte, respiratory disease manager at GSK Colombia.