non allergic asthma

Hi all

I am very confused about something my consultant said last time I saw him, he told me that due to the fact that I appear to have no allergies, that I was likely to grow out of my asthma even though I am 25 and my asthma has got worse since I was diagnosed at 16. He also told me that another reason I was likely to grow out of it was that people with asthma who have allergies tend to have more problems with their asthma and are therefore more difficult to treat.

I was wondering if anyone else has been told this before? and I am also wondering how common it is for people to have non allergic asthma? According to the tests that have been done including skin prick tests and blood tests I don't have any allergies atall!

Lejaya

p.s I would love to hear from anyone who has non allergic asthma so

please pm me!

5 Replies

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  • Hi Lejaya,

    Non-allergic asthma is thought to make up about 10% of asthma, is slightly more common in women, and used to be referred to as 'intrinsic asthma' (with allergic asthma being 'extrinsic asthma'). It can be associated with a range of things, including hormonal changes in women, reflux, viral upper respiratory tract infection, post-nasal drip, exercise, and respiratory irritants such as perfume, smoke, fumes and cold air.

    It's typically diagnosed a bit later than you were, often in the 30s or 40s, although of course that doesn't mean that it's never diagnosed younger. I don't want to second guess your consultant or contradict what he's told you - he may have something different in mind other than standard intrinsic asthma - but generally research supports the idea that people are *less* likely to grow out of it, and it can be more difficult to treat.

    Please don't be put off or frightened by that fact, though - research and statistics cannot accurately predict how a condition is going to behave in an individual person, and research into intrinsic asthma tends to focus on the condition as a whole rather than breaking it down into the different causes. Clearly, your consultant has good reason for saying what he has said to you, so please do check with him before assuming that the general research on intrinsic asthma applies.

    In terms of personal experience of intrinsic asthma - I can tell you my experience. I do have allergic asthma and am atopic (ie, I have a genetic tendency to allergy, which manifests itself in asthma, perennial allergic rhinitis, mild dermatitis and generalised allergic reactions). However, some of my attacks, typically the more sudden onset 'brittle' type ones, are not clearly associated with any allergen that anyone has ever been able to identify - they appear to be a manifestation of what used to be called 'intrinsic asthma'. Hormone fluctuations are a big trigger for these types of attacks for me (this aspect is somewhat controlled by taking the combined contraceptive pill continuously) and the other typical intrinsic asthma triggers I've mentioned above also apply. I am on treatment for reflux and I am very senstive to respiratory irritants. I do get attacks, though, that don't appear to be triggered by any of the above.

    I think it can be very frustrating to have this type of asthma, as the triggers are often not obvious or easy to avoid (I am not trying to make light of the problems faced by those with allergic asthma - I know that many people on here have allergies that are so severe, or wide-ranging, or both, that avoiding allergens is not a viable strategy, and that can be just as frustrating). As I said, it can also be difficult to treat - many of the current preventative treatments for asthma are partially or wholly aimed at damping down the allergic process.

    It's probably worth asking your consultant about the triggers I've mentioned above, if they've not been explored already. In particular, have they considered reflux? It's possible to have 'silent reflux' that may not cause typical heartburn symptoms but may trigger your asthma. The tests are quite invasive, so it's more usual to give a trial of a treatment to reduce acid secretion, such as omeprazole or lansoprazole, to see if it helps. The other thing that I would strongly consider is the impact of hormones - especially given the age of onset of your asthma (I was fourteen when mine started). You could try keeping a detailed peak flow and symptom dairy for three months or so to see if there is any correlation with your cycle. It may be subtle, but if there is a correlation, hormone treatment may help to control things.

    Hope this helps a little, feel free to post or PM if you have any questions!

    Em H

  • Bumped up for Plumie in 'Medical Non allergic asthma' thread

  • Hi im Male plus I've had non allergc asthma for 33 years. I Was told I would also I outgrow it.. Never did. Tho I do have some triggers that make it worse I can avaoid these And the ones I can't avoid, I take antihistamines. The dr also said that a lot of today's medicine is aimed at allergic type asthma but the new medical research and treatments are being aimed at non allergic and brittle type 1 ..... I've had periods of really good and really bad asthma. But u gotta take each day as it comes and if u can identify anything that makes it worse take note of it. my lungs hate dust, cut grass, stress, exercise and freezing fog !!!!!!

  • Hi im Male plus I've had non allergc asthma for 33 years. I Was told I would also I outgrow it.. Never did. Tho I do have some triggers that make it worse I can avaoid these And the ones I can't I take antihistamines. The dr also said that a lot of today's medicine is aimed at allergic type asthma but the new medical research and treatments are being aimed at non allergic and brittle type 1 ..... I've had periods of really good and really bad asthma. But gotta take each day as it comes and if u van identify anything that makes it worse my lungs hate dust, cut grass, stress, exercise and freezing fog !!!!!!

  • Hi

    Just a quick note to say my daughter has non allergic asthma. She has had all allergy tests and they have all come back a normal. She is 2yrs old!

    She also has a swallowing defect that exasperates the situation and causes aspiration and subsequent infection.

    I've been told to expect her not to grow out of her asthma due to the strong hereditary link.

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