Anyone with non-allergic adult asthma? - Asthma UK communi...

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Anyone with non-allergic adult asthma?

Hello, everybody!

I've been browsing the Internet for a year or so to find a good discussion forum for people with asthma. Only today I found this site and I'm really happy for it.

I was diagnosed with asthma less than one year ago, but visiting doctors began already in 2003 when I was misdiagnosed as a perfectly healty person (and so had to go without any medication untill I got much worse 1.5 years ago).

I've met many people with ""typical"" allergic asthma, but I'm looking for persons that have asthma WITHOUT any significant allergies. I do have problems with mold, smoke and perfumes, but I'm not allergic. So I'd like to get in contact with others in my situation, just to share experiences and to find out what's ""normal"" for non-allergic asthmatics - as at least my own experiences seem to be quite different from those of ""normal"" allergic asthmatics... e.g. PEF is really quite useless for me, since it stays at 400 no mather how awful I may feel...

So is there anyone out there? Thanks for any replies :)

ps. I hope you can enjoy the week-end - they've promised some beautiful weather (at least here) :)

21 Replies


welcome to auk

this is a great site and yes i non allergic asthma, mine is classed as diffcult by my con , yes mould and prefume set me off but i am not allergic to it ,

plus yes my peak flow rearly drop a lot even if ill most is about 450 down to 390

but i get other sytomptons ,

so you are not alone

feel free to pm me if you want


in reply to

Can't pm you

Hello, niccia - I also have relatively recently diagnosed adult-onset non-allergic asthma. I suspect we are in the minority on these boards, but I think there are a few of us around.

I was also formally diagnosed only after several years' worth of recurrent chest infections and ongoing coughs - once my (wonderfully thorough!) current GP checked back in my records, she noted that as far back as 15 years ago when I was given a reliever inhaler for a persistent cough, it is likely I was exhibiting symptoms of asthma.

Like you, I find smoke and strong scent/perfumes to be troublesome, but was found to have no significant allergies after IgE blood testing to rule out my cat as a trigger (amongst others).

Nevertheless, my GP did recommend anti-allergy bedding covers as a precaution and I do find contact with some dogs sets off coughing fits.

I am sure you will receive further responses from other people here, too - while I don't post messages particularly frequently, I have found that reading others' posts here has proved very useful in answering questions and reassuring worries.


It's really encouraging to see that there actually ARE others like me. I was really surprised to get any replies this quick! Great :)

It's strange that though asthma isn't anything like a rare disease it still can be hard to find someone 'like me'. I have an asthmatic friend - but her asthma has caused her NO problems at all for all these years I've known her, since after a hard childhood her symptoms went away -as long as she keeps taking her everyday medication. So she's been a great support to me, as she know all about medication, but at the same time she's so different that it doesn't really help so much. I mean, she never has had hard times with buildings (with mold), or pains in her lungs etc. On the other hand, I don't have any problems with dogs and cats, which is really nice to me as I can pet them as much as I want to :D So there are also pros in being a 'unnormal' non-allergic asthmatic :)

Could I still ask some questions, as a non-uk citizen? Could someone please give me the fulL forms or short explanations for following 'terms' that you are using here:

pm (= to post a message, or what?)

GP (=must be some kind of a doctor, exactly what kind of?)

con (=?)

Thanks :)

niccia, a GP is a General Practitioner, a local doctor most UK citizens are registered with. We would initially consult our GP for any medical matter. If the GP deems it necessary, we are then referred to a consultant doctor (specialist).

While there are some of us on this board whose asthma is entirely managed by our GPs, a significant number of people on the AUK boards are under the specialist care of a respiratory consultant.

I hope this helps de-code some of our 'English-isms' for you.


I am not really allergic to anything apart from dust if I have my horses on straw and not wood shavings! I was diagnosed when I was young - age 10 but it is always linked to chest infections, coughs, colds and damp weather as opposed to certian triggers - weird really!


I have experience of both I guess... I have both allergic and non-allergic triggers for my asthma which can make life challenging at times!

Dust mites, pollen, mould and food additives can trigger my asthma symptoms but also excercise, changes in temperature and weather and chemicals in cleaning products, paint etc set me off too!

I try to take the same approach with all my triggers regardless of whether I am allergic or not - avoid if possible and if not take preventative methods such as use of reliever before excercise and going out into cold air.

I think this is the case for a lot of people I know who have asthma. Their asthma may be set off by things they are allergic to but also things they are not!

Take care

Sparkly Fairy

hi niccia

I've been waiting AGES!!!!!!!!!!!!! for someone to post who has non allergic asthma without any true allergies! I also have no allergies I am just sensitive to things like you, all my skin prick tests were negative. My peak flow also very rarely changes even though I can be really feeling really poorly, infact it only drops really low when I have a mega attack.

what do you take for your asthma? also do you find docs and cons etc really unhelpful due to the fact that most people have allergic asthma so they don't know how to treat you?


p.s. please feel free to pm me so we can have a proper 'non allergic' chat!

I'm another one with adult onset non-allergic asthma. Negative skin prick tests, reasonably stable peak flow even when feeling terrible and considerable chest pain/coughing/breathlessness when exposed to triggers. Mine are things like perfume, smoke, changes in air temperature, thunderstorms, new carpets and air-conditioned buildings !

Hi there,

That sounds just like my Asthma too, I sometimes get a bit of a tight chest when I'm using areosols, but like you I don't have any true allergies and my peak flow reamins the same unless I'm having a huge attack. Also sometimes my symptoms come on without any real warning or obvious cause. I kept a really close diary of exactly where I was and what I was doing when I showed symptoms, but thre's not real link between any of these episodes. I also feel sometimes that docs/cons don't always take me seriously because I don't have anything that's very typical of Asthma such as allergies, low PF etc. Just changed GP though and the one I see now is really good and has given me a really good preventer to take so hopefully fingers crossed it will all work out.

Hope you are all well

Claire x

We're so many :)

Nice to see that Yes, there are others also with non-allergic asthma!

It's true that it seems to be very hard to get treated properly as a real asthmatic needing help, if you have no allergies and, especially, if your PEF doesnt drop. BUT, as we all know, the coughs, breathlessness, pains etc are still as real as the symptoms of other asthmatics.

In my case, during all these years before I got the real diagnose and medication, they tried to tell me I had: 1.asthma -but without asthmatic PEF and inflamation results they said it could not possibly be asthma. 2. Reflux (wasn't unnormal). 3. Allergies (there are not) 4. over-breething (is not the cause but the result, as in an asthma attac one might over-breathe). 5. imagination, nervousness and just mental (I did get healthy person's papers from the psychologist that I was sent to :) ). These suggestions were all made by different persons. This point I contacted a lung specialist that other asthma sufferers recomended to me. And She was able to diagnose me right away, saying it clearly was asthma. So now I'm in good hands :) And feeling much better :)

I told my story just because I wanted to say that if you ever face a doctor that doesn't believe you and take you seriously, search an other doctor that is a real specialist with good reputation among those that are ill. They know it best. And please don't give up! :)

I'm not sure what type of asthma I have. I was diagnosed at 19 but had been getting exactly the same symptoms since I was 7 or 8. My asthma is triggered by foggy days, cold air, moving from cold air to hot or vice versa, colds/viruses, and laughter. I can also get a reaction to aerosols depending on the contents. I do have a food allergy (well it's probably an additive) but so far it hasn't affected my asthma, just my skin.

Hello everybody

Although I was diagnosed with Asthma over ten years ago, in my 30s, I have only just decided to look the subject up on the internet and was surprised to see this discussion taking place. Everyone else I know has allergy based asthma!

I had been going along to my GP for years with the same symptoms - breathlessness, tight chest, coughing, etc. had my inhalers altered slightlly and was reassured that I would recover. Last year our family moved to a different surgery. At my annual review the nurse was not happy and I then embarked on endless trips to see her and then the GP who instantly spotted a lingering chest infection. Once she had stabled the infection, she referred me to a chest physician. The chest physician undertook tests to identify the type of asthma I have and the results came back with it being intrinsic (non allergy), and began work on altering my drugs to control my symptoms. The doctor told me that there would always be things that would cause a reaction just like most people.

Unlike most of the replies I have already read, my peak flow does not stay stable. My ideal is 400 - but that is definitely in my dreams!

I actually play a wind instrument and over the years before being diagnosed I struggled alot with playing it, but since I have had the help of my inhalers my playing stamina has grown alot. I understand from my chest physician that playing wind instruments is excellent for the lungs - especially asmatics which I can understand, but sadly owing to a very old chest infection I am struggling to play at the moment, but I know things will improve soon.

Looking forward to hearing from more of you like me. ;)

Hi Oboelady,

Welcome to the forum.


Hi, Oboelady!

I'm curious: How did you doctor found out what kind of asthma you have? What tests she did and with what results? I was just told that I have asthma, and since I'm not allergic (as some general allergy tests showed) I then must be a non-allergic asthmatic ;) What about you?

Hi Niccia

My asthma was originally picked up when I took my daughter to the health visitor for her 3year + check and when I was asked how I felt I replied ""well fine, but I just can't quite fill my lungs with air"" - that followed a frantic few trips to the doctor as they got me on the inhalers and stable. At that point the interest was lost and they said that everything would be ok if I stayed on the inhalers. It was my new GP who decided that enough was enough and that I should be referred on to the specialist. The specialist ran some standard but extensive allery tests which she said indicated intrinsic asthma as the tests did not indicate any allergies. Not saying that I do not have allergies as she indicated that most people can react to triggers in the environment at times.

What I was most comforted about in her approach was her determination to get my asthma stable, which I understand is possible. Afterall not having to worry about too my triggers can help. I do react to cold weather, some perfumes, cigarette smoke the usual things, but I cope well. There is one perfume (I don't know the name just the smell) that I react badly with - so much so that I can't stay in the same room.

Hope this helps.

I am now just hoping that with my new mixture of tablets and inhalers that I will be able to get my life back on track soon - I have a lovely new bike waiting to be riden and strenuous exercise is out of the question at the moment, but I am hoping that things will be back to normal very soon.


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


I'm not sure if mine is allergic or not. I was diagnosed at 18 but never asked what my triggers were or had any tests other than with my nurse at my annual asthma clinic. I am mostly affected by cold weather and smoke so i figure it's not allergic asthma. Is this something i should find out or doesn't it matter if i am controlling my asthma?


How refreshing

It's so refreshing to see that are many more people like myself, most people I know with Asthma have the allergic type.

I started seeing my GP just over 2 years ago now with breathlessness and a constant cough or clearing of the throat, initially I was diagnosed and treated for acid reflux which after some time on treatment for this I was still having the same symptoms, many trips back to my GP, hospital, chest x-rays, blood tests, allergy tests, and a lung function test I was finally diagnosed earlier this year with non-allergic Asthma so nothing really triggers it but environmental factors play a big part in how good of bad it can be, I am currently on Symbicort 200 twice daily and Singulair/ Montelukast tablets but at the moment for reasons I can not work out I am struggling and have been for weeks and weeks, constantly out of breath, trouble sleeping and constant tiredness during the day despite having what I think is a good nights sleep which then affects my concentration.

HI Dawn,

Just wanted to say I'm another one and I know exactly what you mean when you say you have ups and downs but nothing 'triggers' it - I don't really have attacks as such either but have variable symptoms with good days and bad days breathing-wise. Not 100% sure of diagnosis yet but I'm trying Montelukast and I *think* it's working.

If you're tired despite getting what you think is enough sleep perhaps you're getting breathless at night and possibly waking up for a very short time which you don't remember but it would all add up? I would go back to your GP as you're struggling, they could perhaps try some other medication but don't leave it!

Hi and welcome

Don't think anyone has answered your questions on abbreviations:

GP: General Practioner (family doctor)

Con: Consultant or senior doctor at the hospital

PM: Personal message through the tab at the top of the page - a message that goes only to the person you want it to and is not visible on the forum

Costa: Hospital (Costa del NHS)

Any more you need to know about to help you on the forum?


EDIT just noticed someone else did respond to this query! Sorry to duplicate the answers.

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