Is there an association between allergies and asthma?

  • Allergic rhinitis and asthma are closely interrelated and are often found in the same individual
  • More than 80% of people with asthma also suffer from allergic rhinitis or sinusitis.
  • Allergic rhinitis is a risk factor for developing asthma, so addressing allergies is pivotal in preventing and/or controlling asthma
  • With better management of both your allergies and asthma, it will lead to a more effective control of both diseases
  • Allergies can impact the severity and the frequency of asthma symptoms and overall asthma control

How is asthma and allergies related?

Asthma and seasonal allergies are related conditions linked by a common airway. The air we breathe in passes through our nose (at the start of our airway) and continues down the airway into the lungs. Asthma and seasonal allergies cause problems with our breathing by obstructing the free passage of air along this path.

With asthma, the breathlessness and wheezing is caused by a narrowing of the bronchioles (small branched airways in the lungs). Inflammation of the membranes of these small airways may cause an increase in the production of mucus, making the obstruction worse; the dry cough that develops is an attempt to clear the airways.

With seasonal allergies, the obstruction occurs in the upper section of the airway (in the nose). A blocked and runny nose occurs when the membranes of the nose become inflamed. In the same way as coughing is an attempt to clear the obstruction in the lower part of the airway, sneezing is an attempt to clear the mucus from the upper part.