Asthma Complexities (cont.)
Dennis Lee, MD
Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
George Schiffman, MD, FCCP
Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Unusual symptoms of asthma
- Can a cough without wheezing be due to asthma?
- Nocturnal asthma
- Masqueraders of asthma
- Cardiac asthma
- Other bronchial conditions
- Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)
- Other hypersensitivity reactions
- Exercise and sports
- Exercise induced asthma (EIA)
- What causes exercise induced asthma?
- What sports are best suited for exercise induced asthma? What sports are not?
- Ways to prevent and treat exercise induced asthma
- Conditions that may worsen asthma
- Gastroesophageal reflex disease
- The allergic rhinitis-asthma connection
- Sinusitis and asthma
- Air pollution
- Food allergy
- Asthma Complexities At A Glance
- Find a local Asthma & Allergy Specialist in your town
Food intolerance is very common but is not food allergy since it does not involve the immune system. Often this can present with abdominal discomfort after eating the certain food. Lactose intolerance is a classic example and occurs when dairy products are eaten and the individual does not have the proper digestive enzyme for these diary products. Food allergy on the other hand involves the immune system and the production of specific antibodies to components of the food. These antibodies are usually of a specific type called immunoglobulin E (IgE). The most common food allergens are the proteins in cow's milk, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, and peanuts.
Usually, the symptoms of food allergy relate to problems with the skin. Hives, which are raised, red, warm and itchy lesions, can develop suddenly. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is more chronic and appears as raised, itchy, scaly lesions. Gastrointestinal symptoms can also occur. Severe reactions can occur rarely and result in failure of the respiratory system and/or cardiovascular collapse. This is referred to as anaphylaxis. Asthma, too, can occur following exposure to a food substance to which an individual is allergic. The optimal management of these food allergies is avoidance of the offending food if possible. When one discovers or suspects that a food allergy may be present, an evaluation and testing by a professional with expertise in allergies (allergist, immunologist) is recommended. These professionals will often perform a variety of skin tests and blood tests looking for evidence of IgE antibodies to the suspected offending substance. A food diary involving a detailed record of all substances consumed can be helpful in discovering the offending food. Once discovered, complete avoidance of these foods is recommended.
- Unusual symptoms of asthma include cough, rapid breathing, fatigue, sighing, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can mimic other illnesses.
- Asthma can be mimicked by other conditions, such as heart failure, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, bronchial obstruction, vocal-cord dysfunction, and hypersensitivity reactions.
- Exercise is a common trigger for asthma and may cause symptoms in 80%-90% of asthmatics.
- Exercise-induced asthma is managed by choosing an appropriate sport, controlling the asthma prior to events, warming up, avoiding cold, stopping exercise during an asthma attack, cooling down after exercise, and preventing episodes with the use of inhalers and bronchodilators.
- Some conditions can cause asthma to worsen, including GERD, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, and air pollution.
Last Editorial Review: 9/9/2008
Viewers share their comments
Allergies & Asthma
Improve treatments & prevent attacks.