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Asthma Symptoms Blog

Intrinsic Asthma

What is intrinsic asthma?

It is when asthma symptoms occur without any allergy causes. It can be triggered by emotional feelings and scents like laughing, crying, stress, perfumes, deodorants or nail polish, exercises, chest infection and etc. We can experience asthma flare-ups by any of these emotions or scents, because of the sensitivity of our lugs, which produces mucus build up and bronchospasm making it more difficult to breathe.

If you have your asthma under control then having any of these emotions should not really cause your asthma symptoms to appear.

Some types of food and drinks can also cause intrinsic asthma, such as alcohol and dairy products. I personally find that red wine is a red flag for me. I usually feel instant tightness in my chest the minute I consume it! Dairy products do not necessary start asthma symptoms, but if you are experiencing asthma flare-ups, then it is wise to avoid them, because they help the production of mucus in the lungs, which worsens the condition.
What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic asthma?

Extrinsic asthma is caused by allergens, such as pollen, and causes our body to produce antibodies to fight these harmless airborne substances, which results in conditions like asthma and hayfever. In producing these antibodies to fight the pollen in the air, our lungs create excess mucus, which obstructs our airways
making it difficult to breathe.

This is why it is vitally important to take your medications, particularly your preventer inhaler, as they restrict our immune system from reacting to these allergens and ultimately stops mucus build up. Other allergens that cause extrinsic asthma are dust and pet dander. Read my article on tips on how to deal with allergies in your home

Intrinsic, as mentioned above, is asthma that is triggered by emotional feelings, or/and certain foods, drinks and exercises.

What treatments are there?

The good thing I find about intrinsic asthma is that in some way I have more control over my condition. If I feel any symptoms of asthma appearing, I simply stop consuming dairy products to avoid excess mucus in my airways. I know red wine causes my lungs to become tighter, so I simply do not drink it.

It is all about finding out what triggers your asthma symptoms and avoiding these triggers. Now, of course, there are certain triggers you cannot prevent, such as laughing, crying, coughing and etc, but if your asthma is under control and you take medications when recommended by your doctor, then this type of asthma should not be an issue to you.

However, if you plan on doing any physical activities, then it is VERY IMPORTANT that you have your rescue/reliever inhaler with you at all times just to be on the safe side.