Difference between Asthma and Seasonal Asthma

Key difference: Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and unfortunately in today’s world it is quite common. Asthma is known for causing recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. In the case that a person has asthma as well as allergies, the asthma may be triggered by the allergies. This case is termed as seasonal asthma. Allergens may include plant pollen, mold, or animal hair, skin or saliva.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and unfortunately in today’s world it is quite common. Asthma is known for causing recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.  The coughing characteristically is worse at night or early morning. Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood, due to which a number of children have to live with the disease.

The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs. Asthma causes these airways to inflame, and hence swollen and sensitive. Due to this, the airways tend to strongly react to irritants and outside substances. As the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This causes the airways to become narrow and carry less air to the lungs that they normally would. Another way that the airways can become narrow is when the cells in the airway produce more mucus than necessary. The mucus coats the inside of the airway, thus restricting space.

Whenever, the airways are restricted, it induces the symptoms of asthma. At times, the symptoms are quite mild and may go away on their own or after minimal treatment with asthma medicine. However, at other times, the symptoms may not subside and may continue to get worse. These instances are referred to as asthma attacks. Asthma attacks are also called flareups or exacerbations. These may require proper medical attention.

There is currently no cure for asthma; however, there are numerous treatments available that can help control the impact of asthma. Hence, it is quite possible to live an average life with asthma, with minimal interference. There various medicines that can help counter the effects of asthma, both long term and short term. There are also various lifestyle choices one can make to reduce the impact of asthma.

In the case that a person has asthma as well as allergies, the asthma may be triggered by the allergies. This case is termed as seasonal asthma. An allergy is basically the immune system's reaction when exposed to what is otherwise a harmless substance, such as plant pollen, mold, or animal hair, skin or saliva. These substances may induce the symptoms of asthma and result in the airways constricting. These substances are abound mainly in the spring season, which also when most cases of seasonal asthmas are triggered. Hence, the name ‘seasonal asthma’.

A detailed comparison between Asthma and Seasonal Asthma:

 

Asthma

Seasonal Asthma

Description

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and unfortunately in today’s world it is quite common. Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood, due to which a number of children have to live with the disease.

Seasonal asthma is when asthma is triggered by allergens. Substances like plant pollen, mold, or animal hair, skin or saliva. Seasonal allergies are one of the main triggers for asthma.

Causes

The exact cause of asthma is unknown. Genetic and environmental factors, such as an inherited tendency to develop allergies, called atopy, asthmatic parents, childhood respiratory infections and/or contact with some airborne allergens or exposure to some viral infections in infancy or in early childhood when the immune system is developing may impact cause of asthma.

Inhaled allergens, such as animal dander (skin, saliva), dust mites, cockroach particles, mold and/or pollen.

 

Risk

Young children who often wheeze and have respiratory infections, allergies, eczema of parents with asthma are at highest risk of developing asthma. Some people who often come in contact with certain chemical irritants or industrial dusts in the workplace are also at risk.

People with asthma and allergies.

Symptoms

  • Coughing - often worse at night or early in the morning
  • Wheezing, whistling or squeaky sound while breathing.
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing – worse when in contact with allergens
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Chest pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constricted airways
  • Rapid breathing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Increased mucus production

Diagnosis

Symptoms are irregular. The best way to diagnose asthma is a lung function test.

If one is diagnosed with asthma, then the doctor may check history to diagnose allergies and effectively seasonal asthma.

Treatment

While there is no cure for asthma, it is possible to control the disease and limit its effects. It is possible to live a normal lifestyle with asthma.

There is no cure for asthma, allergies or seasonal asthma. However, some steps may be taken to limit effect and symptoms.

Allergy medications

Avoiding the allergen

Limiting outdoor activities to avoid pollen

Asthma medications

Statistics

In 2011, 235–300 million people globally have been diagnosed with asthma, and it caused 250,000 deaths.

If both parents suffered from allergies in the past, there is a 66% chance for the individual to suffer from seasonal allergies, and the risk lowers to 60% if just one parent had suffered from allergies. In Canada, up to 75% of asthmatics also have seasonal allergies.

Image Courtesy: placeboeffect.com, bikramyogavancouver.com

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