February 20, 2024

Unveiling Allergic Asthma: Insights for 2024

Asthma by the numbers

25 million people in the United States suffer from asthma ³. Clinically speaking asthma is a chronic lung disease affecting people of all ages. It is caused by inflammation and muscle tightening around the airways, which makes it harder to breathe. 10% of people with asthma have severe asthma, resulting in several urgent care and emergency care visits and a high risk of asthma-related hospitalization, in addition to missed school, work, and activity days ².

While symptoms come and go, airway inflammation is chronic, meaning it never goes away, and may be associated with persistent narrowing of the airways, even when the person “feels well.” For most people with asthma, that inflammation is triggered or maintained by exposure to allergens to which they are sensitized. This means asthma and allergies often go hand in hand.

Allergies and asthma

Patients with asthma may have increased sensitivity to normally harmless substances, such as pet dander, or air pollution. Someone with asthma that is exposed to these or other allergic or non-allergic triggers may experience an increase in symptoms. Most people with asthma have hypersensitivity that includes “allergic” reactions to environmental exposures. Such environmental exposures are common, with over 90% of homes having at least three detectable common aeroallergens and 73% having one or more at an elevated level ².

Because allergies can exacerbate asthma symptoms, the presence of allergens can have severe consequences. Three out of five children with asthma and more than half of working adults with asthma have their lives disrupted by the need to seek urgent or emergency care for their asthma each year. This leads to a staggering 1.8 million emergency department visits and nearly 400,000 hospitalizations each year attributed to asthma ².

Allergy testing

Dust mites, pet dander, and food allergens can all exacerbate asthma symptoms. Discussing allergy testing with your healthcare provider can lead to a more accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Additionally, HNL Lab Tests Direct offers a convenient option to order testing for common allergens, providing accessible and efficient means to pinpoint specific triggers contributing to your symptoms. Take proactive steps towards managing your allergies and improving your quality of life. If you have asthma and are concerned that allergens could be contributing to your symptoms, visit HNL Lab Tests Direct or contact your healthcare provider today!

¹ World Health Organization. (2023, August 30). Asthma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma# .
² Allergy and Asthma Task Force. (2018, September). Recommendations to improve asthma outcomes: Work group call to action. Thermo Fisher Scientific.
³ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, August 21). Most recent national asthma data. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/most_recent_national_asthma_data.htm.