Asthma's Two Types: Do You Have Intrinsic or Extrinsic?
While these formal names may not be familiar, extrinsic asthma and intrinsic asthma are technical terms for allergic and non-allergic asthma. Both forms of asthma present the same types of symptoms, but the way they occur is different.
Also known as allergic asthma, this is the most common type of asthma. It's triggered by seasonal and/or indoor allergens. When you breathe allergens such as dust mites, animal dander, or mold, your body produces an antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that leads to inflammation, tightness, and excess mucus production. All of these changes can make it difficult to move air in or out of your lungs.
The best way to prevent allergic asthma is to allergy proof your home and workplace. If your allergies don't respond to medications, consider undergoing immunotherapy (allergy shots) to gradually build up your tolerance to allergens.
With intrinsic asthma, you'll experience the same types of symptoms but they won't be related to an immune system reaction. Instead, symptoms occur when your airways are irritated. This can be caused by weather changes, exercise, illness, anxiety, smoke, fumes, and scented products.
When non-allergic asthma is your problem, avoid germs, smoke, and strong. Also, steer clear of extreme weather changes, poor air conditions, and don't engage in strenuous exercise without warming up or cooling down first.
When Allergic and Non-Allergic Asthma Co-Exist
The best way to identify what type of asthma you have, see your doctor. You may need to undergo allergy testing to determine if your immune system is involved in your condition. In many cases, it's not that simple since asthma is often caused by both allergic and non-allergic triggers. If you have both types of asthma, you may need to make an extra effort to avoid potential allergic and non-allergic triggers.
"Allergic Asthma: A to Z." Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. AAFA.org, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2011.
"Allergies and Asthma: They Often Occur Together." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Education and Research (MFER), 17 Sept. 2010. Web. 22 Dec. 2011.
"Asthma Overview." Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. AAFA.org, 2005. 18 Dec. 2011.
Mouthuy J, et al. "Presence in Sputum of Functional Dust Mite-Specific IgE Antibodies in Intrinsic Asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 184 (2011): 206-214.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Ice Falls Can Cause Serious Injuries
- 2. Can Inactivity Act Like a Disease?
- 3. Kale Snack Recipe for Diabetics
- 4. How Running Affects Arthritis
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.