Atopy or atopic syndrome is defined as an individual’s tendency to suffer from certain allergic conditions when they get in contact with the type of allergens that are usually harmless to others.
For an atopic individual (who is hypersensitive to allergens) suffering usually starts with skin reactions like eczema which may sometimes accompany conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
The strongest risk factor for developing asthma is a history of atopic disease, with asthma occurring at a much greater rate in those who have either eczema or hay fever.
However many people with atopic syndrome are also known to suffer from the symptoms of all these three conditions which is usually referred to as allergic triad.
Atopic Asthma vs Non-Atopic Asthma
Asthma is usually classified as atopic and non-atopic. Atopic is generally associated with allergens which are the main cause of triggers.
While in non-atopic asthma the triggers can be many others such as exercise, running, etc.
Studies show that atopic asthma and other allergic conditions are more likely seen in children who are very much hypersensitive to various allergic conditions and allergens such as dust, pollen, etc.
However, the good thing is, the symptoms of atopic disease in adults tend to decrease automatically with age.
The treatment method, if required, for such conditions is usually the same (as with normal asthma) with an added step to remove the allergens that are mainly responsible for the problem.
What Is Atopic Asthma: Its Causes and Symptoms
Atopic asthma is the most common form of asthma which is an inflammatory disease of the airways caused due to allergic reactions.
Most of the time it is a genetic condition that is found in individuals who already have family members allergic to certain allergens.
Based on the surroundings and conditions, there can be various allergic causes of atopic asthma. Some of these include:
- Allergic reactions to some foods such as peanuts or shellfish
- Airborne allergens such as pollen, animal dander, mold, smoke, dust mites, etc.
- Allergic reactions from certain medications such as beta-blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
Symptoms of atopic asthma generally include:
- Shortness of breath
- Recurrent episodes of wheezing
- Chest tightness, mucus in lungs, and cough
Investigations for atopic asthma can be made using methods such as Physical exam, Lung Function Test, Spirometry, Peak flow measurement, Methacholine challenge, Nitric oxide test, Imaging tests, etc.
Preventive Measures and Treatment Methods
Reducing or eliminating compounds that are sensitive for hyperallergic people is an effective preventive measure for atopy asthma.
The best way to deal with the condition is to track down all the possible allergens (like pollen, food, dust, etc) that are causing the problem.
- If it’s due to pollen, you should avoid going outdoors during the time of the day when the pollen is high.
- If it’s due to food, you should identify the allergic food items and cut the diet for a few weeks.
- If it’s due to dust or pollution in the air, keeping a powerful HEPA air purifier in a room can help a lot.
In addition to the above allergens, dry air is also many times a cause of atopic asthma and eczema. Installing a good room humidifier is the most important thing that can help in this case.
Various medicines that can help in treating atopic asthma include Bronchodilators, Inhaled corticosteroids, Leukotriene modifiers, Long-acting beta-agonists, Quick-relief (rescue) medications, Oral and intravenous corticosteroids, and Combination inhalers.
In addition to all the above, immunization and smoking ban is recommended by the World Health Organization which can help in treating diseases associated with breathing problems such as atopic asthma.