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Types of Asthma

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Cough-Variant Asthma

In the type of asthma called cough-variant asthma, severe coughing is the predominant symptom. There can be other causes of cough such as postnasal drip, chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or heartburn). Coughing because of sinusitis with asthma is common.

Cough-variant asthma is vastly underdiagnosed and undertreated. Asthma triggers for cough-variant asthma are usually respiratory infections and exercise.

For any persistent cough, contact your doctor. Your doctor may order specific asthma tests, such as lung function tests, to show how well your lungs work. You might need to see a lung specialist for further tests before an asthma diagnosis is made.

For more in-depth information, see WebMD's Cough-Variant Asthma.

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.

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