Do Allergies Cause Asthma?

By Brenda Mango, RN Manager, Shell Point Retirement Community

Do allergies cause asthma? The answer to this question is: yes and no. Asthma and allergies often go hand-in-hand and the types of allergies that are often linked to asthma are usually those that affect your nose and eyes, causing a runny nose or red, itchy eyes.

Asthma is a disease of the branches of the windpipe (bronchial tubes), which carry air in and out of the lungs. Air is normally taken through the windpipe and past the bronchial tubes into tiny air sacs called alveoli that deliver fresh air (oxygen) to the blood. During normal breathing, the bands of muscle surrounding the airways are relaxed. But during an asthma episode, or “attack,” air stops moving freely into the airways, making breathing more difficult. The bands of muscle that surround the airways tighten and become swollen or inflamed, causing thick mucus production. As a result, people with asthma feel they cannot get enough air. Albuterol inhaler

About 23 million people in the United States have asthma. Of these, about 70% have an allergy to something. Common allergens include dust mites, mold, pollen, and animal dander. If you have asthma, limiting your exposure to allergens may be key to controlling your asthma. If you can’t completely limit your exposure to an allergen, your doctor may recommend a visit to an allergist or recommend allergy shots.