a woman wearing a mask inside her house, cleaning with a spray bottle, looks outside her window at the pollen and flowers drifting by

Quality Of Life Differences Between People With Allergic Asthma Vs Non-Allergic Asthma

Two common types of asthma are allergic and non-allergic asthma. These asthma subgroups have similarities and differences with one another. They can each cause different impacts on a person’s quality of life. To gain a better understanding of life with allergic vs non-allergic asthma, we pulled some of the results from our 5th Annual Asthma In America survey. This year, we surveyed more than 1,000 people with different types of asthma. Some of the results are below.

Allergic vs non-allergic asthma

Many of the underlying changes in the body are the same for both allergic and non-allergic asthma. However, the main difference is in the initiation of symptoms. People who have allergic asthma have symptoms that are triggered by common allergens in their environment. This includes things like:1

On the other hand, people with non-allergic asthma have symptoms triggered by different things. Triggers of non-allergic asthma include:2

Allergic asthma is more common than non-allergic asthma.

Differences in symptoms and diagnosis

Among respondents, those with allergic asthma often experienced their first symptoms before 18 years old. They were often diagnosed at a younger age and had been living with their asthma for a longer period of time. Often, they were diagnosed with severe, persistent asthma. Those with allergic asthma tended to live in areas or work in places that have a high pollen count, poorer air quality, and higher levels of smog or pollution.

The most common symptoms reported in the past month for those with allergic asthma were:

Additionally, those with allergic asthma were more likely to be female and never have used tobacco in the past.

Quality of life in allergic vs non-allergic asthma

Many with allergic asthma reported being unable to have pets due to their asthma. These individuals also often felt embarrassed about their asthma or were worried that others would think they were “out of shape” because of their asthma symptoms. Those with allergic asthma were also more likely to need additional support from others, struggle more with controlling triggers, and have more difficulties with health insurance issues.

Treatment, symptom management, and lifestyle changes

Those with allergic asthma often needed allergy medications in the form of pills. Many of these individuals also reported needing allergy shots.

For those with allergic asthma, many lifestyle changes are often made. The most common lifestyle changes included:

Although allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma can cause similar symptoms and underlying changes in the body, their impacts on quality of life, diagnosis, and symptom management can be quite different.

Since those with allergic asthma are triggered by common allergens, management and prevention often comes in the form of treating allergy-related symptoms and avoiding these types of exposures. Non-allergic asthma triggers may be harder to predict for some, especially when they are unavoidable, such as changes in weather, stress, or infection.

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