Are allergies causing your asthma?

Studies show that nearly two thirds of asthma sufferers have allergies, underscoring a strong link between the two diseases. So what does one have to do with the other? It all starts with an allergic reaction to elements in the environment (mold, pet dander, dust, etc.) The immune system can erroneously perceive these harmless elements as threats and release chemicals (such as histamine) to fight them off. The chemicals cause the airways to become swollen and inflamed. Mucus can become lodged in the airways, and breathing becomes harder and harder.

asthma allergies

So how do you know if your asthma is allergy-related? One strong indicator is if your asthma flares in the pollen-heavy seasons of spring and fall. That’s not foolproof, though. Some people may have year-round asthma because they are allergic to non-pollen allergens such as dust and mold which can be present year round.

If you have allergy symptoms in addition to asthma, that can be an indicator that your airway problems are allergy-related. So, too, can a family background of allergies.

Medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids (administered through inhalers) can help reduce the inflammation of the airways that leads to asthma. Ongoing medication prices can be prohibitive, though, and it’s frustrating to have to keep administering it over and over.

If you suspect an allergy, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and the possibility of allergy testing. If you do have allergies, consider allergy treatment through shots or sublingual (under-the-tongue) allergy drops. It can be cheaper and less hassle than medications, but the biggest perk is that it can address the underlying allergy so that your asthma attacks become less severe or stop occurring altogether.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.