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Types of Asthma

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Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma is a type of asthma that results from workplace triggers. With this type of asthma, you might have difficulty breathing and asthma symptoms just on the days you're on the job.

Many people with this type of asthma suffer with runny nose and congestion or eye irritation or have a cough instead of the typical asthma wheezing.

Some common jobs that are associated with occupational asthma include animal breeders, farmers, hairdressers, nurses, painters, and woodworkers.

For more detail, see WebMD’s article on Occupational Asthma.

Nighttime (Nocturnal) Asthma

Nighttime asthma, also called nocturnal asthma, is a common type of the disease. If you have asthma, the chances of having symptoms are much higher during sleep because asthma is powerfully influenced by the sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythms). Your asthma symptoms of wheezing, cough, and trouble breathing are common and dangerous, particularly at nighttime.

Studies show that the most deaths related to asthma occur at night. It’s thought that this may be because of increased exposure to allergens (asthma triggers), cooling of the airways, reclining position, or even hormone secretions that follow a circadian pattern. Sometimes heartburn can cause asthma at night. Sinusitis and asthma are often problems at night, particularly when postnasal drip triggers symptoms such as coughing. 

If you have asthma and notice your symptoms worsening as evening progresses, it’s time to see your asthma doctor and figure out the causes of asthma. Understanding the right asthma medications and when to take them are key to managing nighttime asthma and getting quality sleep.

For more detail, see WebMD’s article Nighttime Asthma.

Health Conditions That May Mimic Asthma

A variety of illnesses can cause some of the same symptoms as asthma. For example, cardiac asthma is a form of heart failure in which the symptoms mimic some of the symptoms of regular asthma.

Vocal cord dysfunction is another asthma mimic. Many recent reports have drawn attention to a peculiar syndrome in which an abnormality of the vocal cords causes wheezing that is frequently misdiagnosed as asthma. This is most common in young females who have loud and dramatic episodes of wheezing that do not respond to medications that open the airways.  

For more detail, see WebMD's Health Conditions That May Mimic Asthma.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on February 24, 2014
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