Asthma is more a category of closely related, but still distinct conditions affecting the respiratory system and the symptoms or asthma attack triggers can vary significantly among individuals struggling with this condition, moreover, if you get a cold it is easier to suffer an asthma attack. Consequently, medical experts have identified and described a number of so-called sub-conditions that can give us more precise info about the exact causes, symptoms and triggers of a specific type of asthma.

Here, we will take a look at these different types of inflammatory lung diseases such referred to as asthma, while paying attention to the most effective preventive techniques that can, if applied timely, help you avoid a potentially dangerous asthma attack.

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Exercise-induced asthma (EIA)

Exercise-induced asthma is one of the most common forms of asthma, easily recognizable by the fact that it is usually triggered by intense physical activity such as exercise or participating in sports. People affected by exercise-induced asthma commonly notice that their symptoms either manifest only after physical exertion or exacerbate after it. This is the tell-tale sign of EIA that even doctors rely on in order to diagnose and identify the sub-condition. The most common symptoms include:

  • Tight chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing

But, make no mistake – being affected by exercise-induced asthma doesn’t mean that you cannot take part in regular physical activity! On the contrary, exercise is actually recommended to asthmatics since it can prove to be very valuable in relieving the symptoms and increasing the lung capacity.

However, in order to safely engage in physical activity without risking an asthma attack, you must keep in mind that warming up and taking proper asthma medicine beforehand are absolutely necessary precautions!

Occupational asthma

If you’re experiencing asthma symptoms mostly at your workplace, it is highly likely that your condition can be more precisely classified as occupational asthma. The usual symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Tight chest

There are numerous particular jobs that come with a heightened risk of occupational asthma developing for the people employed, usually due to the presence of certain compounds and substances that are known asthma attack triggers. These include:

  • Certain types of dust
  • Volatile chemical compounds
  • Fumes

To give a couple of examples, people most commonly affected by occupational asthma are those who are employed in bakery, healthcare, metalwork, on a farm, as a cleaner or as a hairdresser. As evident, all of these jobs include constant exposure to potentially harmful and irritating substances and compounds.

Many argue that occupational asthma is directly related to the fact that in some people, the body will tend to develop an allergy to a substance it has been exposed to in large amounts and over prolonged periods of time.

Occupational asthma accounts for the highest percentage of people diagnosed with asthma in their adulthood which led many to conclude that with proper precautions, such as protective masks and other health and safety equipment, this condition can be prevented. However, if this diagnosis is confirmed, it might be necessary for those affected to take time off work or, if their case is severe, even switch to another job where there will be no exposure to the trigger.

Difficult to control asthma

First of all, we need to make a distinction between difficult to control asthma and severe asthma, as the two are separate conditions affecting a small number of asthmatics. Difficult to control asthma is characterized by frequent asthma attacks of higher intensity and problems with breathing on a regular basis.

This condition is usually caused either by another underlying condition, most often a chronic illness, or some of the harmful practices and habits such as smoking or ineffective asthma control routine. This is why difficult to control asthma should be managed in accordance with advices and support from an experienced medical professional.

Severe asthma

When it comes to its symptoms, severe asthma is very similar to difficult to control asthma, which often leads to confusion among the layman about the precise nature of the condition. Severe asthma requires a more specialist input and complex treatment which, more often than not, results in spending more time in a hospital.

With severe asthma, regular treatments such as steroids do not produce the desired results in the required amount, so more intense treatments such as nebulisers, physiotherapy and psychological counselling might be necessary.

Seasonal asthma

If your asthma symptoms manifest only at particular times of the year, you might be affected by seasonal asthma. This condition is closely related to different allergic reactions to seasonal changes with the presence of pollen or mould being the most common triggers. The best advice for asthmatics stuggling with this sub-type of the condition is to identify their own seasonal triggers and try to plan in advance on how to avoid them as much as possible. Some medication can be of help, such as 

Nocturnal asthma

Nocturnal asthma, also known as nighttime asthma, is a condition that can, on top of all the other problems, severely disrupt the regular sleep pattern, leaving those affected feeling tired and irritable.

People affected by this sub-type of the condition experience asthma attacks or exacerbated symptoms when they try to go to sleep. While the exact reason behind this is not identified as of now, there are some indications that it might be linked to lying in a reclined position in combination with exposure to dust and cooler air. One of the most successful preventive techniques is the use of a long-acting preventive treatment throughout the day.

Aspirin-induced asthma (AIA)

Certain types of drugs, such as aspirin and some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known to be able to cause asthmatic reaction in some people susceptible to this unwanted side effect. The most common symptoms are usually localized to nasal area, including rhinitis and nasal polyps. The process of diagnosing this condition usually includes administering a small dose of aspirin or another NSAID and looking for potential signs of inflammation of the mucus lining of the nose in addition to exacerbation of the symptoms.