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Are Asthma and Allergies the Same Thing?

written by: Jennifer Gonzalez • edited by: lrohner • updated: 2/28/2011

Is asthma the same as allergies? If you are unsure if you or someone you care for is suffering from asthma or allergies, you should take the time to learn the symptoms and triggers so you can help to get a handle on the condition.

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    Is Asthma the Same As Allergies?

    Asthma and allergies have a lot in common. They are not the same condition, but tend to go hand in hand in many different cases. These two conditions have many of the same symptoms and triggers that can cause a person to have a sudden attack. Depending on the symptoms, asthma and allergies also share some of the same medications. If you have been wondering, "Is asthma the same as allergies?" you may want to make an appointment to speak to your regular doctor or a doctor that specializes in that area, such as an allergist.

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    Symptoms of Asthma and Allergies

    Both asthma and allergies share many of the same symptoms, so understanding the symptoms of each condition is very important in deciding if you are experiencing an outbreak of allergies or an asthma attack, or even a condition known as allergic asthma -- an asthma attack that is brought on by allergy triggers. The best way to know for sure what you are feeling is to have an allergy test performed. This will rule out any confusion between both conditions.

    Asthma or an asthma attack will show some of the following symptoms:

    • Wheezing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Coughing and coughing that is worse at night
    • Tightness of the chest
    • Chest pain or chest pressure
    • Change in breathing pattern

    Common asthma triggers, that are also some triggers for allergies, are brought on by colds or flu, exercise, changes in temperature or weather, cigarette smoke, pollution in the air, various allergens (dust, pollen, mold, pet dander), fumes from chemicals and types of medications, just to name a few.

    Some of the symptoms brought on by allergies are as follows:

    • Rash or hives
    • Itchy eyes
    • Watery eyes
    • Chest congestion
    • Coughing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Itchiness
    • Trouble breathing
    • Swelling
    • Stomach pain or cramps
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Dizzy or fuzzy feeling

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    Treatment and Prevention of Allergies and Asthma

    Comparing both conditions shows that they are very similar in their causes and symptoms, and they are also treated and prevented in a very similar fashion. Treatment of these conditions requires medication such as pills or an inhaler. Most of the time a doctor will prescribe a patient to take these medications daily to prevent symptoms from returning and to keep them under control.

    The steps taken to prevent asthma and allergies are also the same in that you want to avoid the things that trigger an attack. Not everyone suffering from these conditions will experience the same symptoms or the same triggers, so figuring out what your triggers are is the key to successfully preventing the condition. This can be done in a trial and error process by eliminating certain things from your surroundings and then reintroducing them to see how your body reacts to them. An easier and quicker way to find your conditions triggers is to see your doctor for lab testing.

    Knowing what to look for in both conditions will eliminate the need to wonder if asthma is the same as allergies, because you will already know what to look for in each condition and the steps that need to be taken to prevent them.

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    References

    WebMD- http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergy-symptoms-types

    Mayo Clinic- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/allergies-and-asthma/AA00045/NSECTIONGROUP=2

    Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America- http://www.aafa.org/