What are the types of asthma?

There are two basic types of asthma  allergic and non-allergic.1,2

The role allergy plays in asthma 

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma – affecting around 4 in 5 people who have asthma.3 It occurs when your immune system reacts to a substance you've been exposed to, which it thinks is harmful. This substance – called an allergen – triggers an allergic reaction in your airways, causing your airways to constrict, leading to the symptoms of asthma.4 There are many types of allergens that can cause these symptoms, such as:3,5

  • windblown pollen from trees, grasses and weeds
  • thunderstorms and weather changes that can lead to pollen release
  • mould
  • animal dander from hair, skin or feathers
  • dust mites
  • workplace allergens (e.g. wood dust, paint fumes, solvents, latex, flour)
  • insect faeces.

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma – affecting around 4 in 5 people who have asthma.3

References: 1. World Allergy Organisation. Allergic vs non-allergic. O’Byrne PM. Available at: http://www.worldallergy.org/educational_programs/world_allergy_forum/neworleans2010/obyrne.php Accessed March 2017. 2. Romanet-Manent S et al. Allergy 2002;57:607–13. 3. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. About asthma and allergy. Available at: https://www.allergy.org.au/images/pcc/ASCIA_PCC_About_asthma_and_allergy_2015.pdf Accessed December 2016. 4. National Health Service (NHS). Causes of asthma. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Asthma/Pages/Causes.aspx Accessed December 2016. 5. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Thunderstorm asthma. Available at: http://www.allergy.org.au/images/pcc/ASCIA_PCC_Thunderstorm_asthma_Dec2016.pdf Accessed December 2016.