Can I Have Allergies and Asthma at the Same Time?

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Can I Have Allergies and Asthma at the Same Time?

Asthma and allergies are two common medical problems that can both cause respiratory symptoms, like coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. Worse, some people have both conditions, a one-two punch that can wreak havoc on their health and their quality of life.

At his practice in Lakeland, Florida, Sergio B. Seoane, MD, helps patients manage allergies and asthma, with custom management plans focused on relieving symptoms and preventing flare-ups. If you have allergies or asthma or both, here’s how he can help you.

Quick facts about asthma and allergies

More than 50 million Americans have allergies and nearly 26 million Americans suffer from asthma — and of those, roughly 60% have allergic asthma, a type of asthma that’s actually triggered by allergic reactions. While both allergies and asthma involve respiratory reactions, they have different underlying causes. 

Allergies happen when you come in contact with a specific substance, like pollen, smoke, mold, or dust mites, and your immune system overreacts. Typically, that overreaction involves the release of chemicals called histamines that in turn lead to sneezing, coughing, watery or itchy eyes, or even hives.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that involves inflammation and excess mucus production in your airways. During an asthma flare-up or attack, your airways narrow, making it harder to breathe. Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Like allergies, asthma can be triggered by exposure to specific substances, but exercise and cold air can also trigger symptoms in some people.

While researchers don’t know the specific cause of asthma, they do know that both asthma and allergies tend to be more common in people with certain risk factors, like:

  • Family history of allergies or asthma
  • Smoking
  • Environmental exposures (including smoke and chemicals)
  • Obesity
  • Prior significant respiratory infections
  • Psoriasis

Because asthma specifically is associated with an abnormal immune system response, researchers believe it may be related in some ways to other autoimmune conditions, too.

Treating allergies and asthma

Allergies and asthma are both chronic conditions that require ongoing management. Dr. Seoane and his team focus on developing individualized management plans based on each patient’s unique triggers, symptoms, lifestyle, and other factors.

For people with both asthma and allergies, having a comprehensive management plan is essential for avoiding serious respiratory issues. Prior to designing your plan, Dr. Seoane orders testing to identify triggers and gain an in-depth understanding of your conditions. Tests might include:

  • Blood work
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Breathing tests, like spirometry
  • Skin or patch testing for allergies

If Dr. Seoane suspects you have both conditions, he may order multiple tests.

The next step is to design a management plan just for you. For most people, that means a combination of medications and lifestyle changes, like taking steps to avoid triggers, quitting smoking, being more active, and maintaining a healthy weight. Sticking with your management plan is essential, so if you have any concerns or questions, it’s important to call the office right away so we can help.

Help for asthma and allergies

Asthma and allergies can both cause significant respiratory issues unless they’re actively managed. To learn how we can help, call 863-644-2204 or request an appointment online with Dr. Seoane today.