What Are The Various Types Of Asthma?

Question:What are the various types of asthma?

Answer: There are many different types of asthma. Some of them are related to when it started -- for instance, childhood versus adulthood. Others are related to the times of the day that it's worse, so you might hear about nocturnal asthma or nighttime asthma. Also, we talk often about the causes of asthma, and so you might hear about obesity-related asthma or gastroesophageal reflux-related asthma. Another very important concept is whether or not the person has allergies because a major distinction is when you have allergic asthma versus non-allergic asthma.

There are also descriptions about people who respond differently to medicines so you might hear about steroid-refractory asthma or people who don't seem to respond as well to steroids. Although it's very rare, it does happen, it presents a challenge to clinicians treating people with that form.

Another group that I think is important to remember is that some people with asthma don't perceive their symptoms very well. They only feel that airway narrowing when it's very far along. And so these so-called poor perceivers are actually at the highest risk of developing the serious problems of asthma which can include hospitalization and even death since they don't feel that their airways are closing until very late in an exacerbation.


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