Common Asthma Types, Triggers, and Treatments


Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It causes your airways to narrow and become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. This results in symptoms like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. While asthma can’t be cured, it’s highly manageable. If you’re in the Midtown New York area, an asthma specialist in Midtown, New York, can provide the expertise needed for both diagnosis and personalized treatment.

Asthma affects people of all ages, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Understanding the different types of asthma, what triggers your symptoms, and the wide range of available treatment options is important. With effective management, you can control your asthma rather than letting it control you, allowing you to live a full and active life.

Types of Asthma

Allergic Asthma: The most common form, allergic asthma is triggered by exposure to allergens. Common culprits include pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold. If you live in Midtown New York, and suspect you have allergic asthma, consulting with an asthma specialist in Midtown, New York, can help you receive an accurate diagnosis and pinpoint your specific triggers.

Non-Allergic Asthma: This form of asthma can be brought on by a variety of irritants such as smoke, cold air, strong odors, air pollution, or even stress and anxiety. Changes in weather, common in big cities like New York, can often be a factor in non-allergic asthma flare-ups.

Exercise-Induced Asthma: In this type, physical activity triggers asthma symptoms. While exercise is generally beneficial for everyone, if you find yourself wheezing, coughing, or experiencing shortness of breath during or after workouts, it’s important to talk to your doctor. An asthma specialist can help you develop strategies to manage exercise-induced asthma so you can stay active.

Other Types: While less common, there are other types of asthma as well, such as cough-variant asthma, occupational asthma (caused by workplace exposures), and nocturnal asthma (where symptoms worsen at night).

Common Asthma Triggers

Besides the specific type of asthma you have, a wide range of triggers can set off your symptoms. Understanding what triggers your asthma is a vital part of effective management.

Environmental Triggers: Living in a bustling metropolis like New York City means increased exposure to many potential environmental triggers. Pollen, air pollution, pet dander, and mold spores can all worsen asthma, particularly during seasonal changes. Consulting an asthma specialist in Midtown, New York, can help you identify triggers most relevant to your life in the city.

Respiratory Infections: The common cold, flu, and other respiratory viruses are notorious for triggering asthma attacks. Taking precautions like getting vaccinated and practicing good hygiene is especially important when you have asthma.

Occupational Triggers: Exposure to chemicals, dust, or fumes at your workplace can worsen asthma symptoms. If you suspect your work environment is affecting your asthma, an asthma specialist can help you evaluate the situation and suggest possible solutions.

Additional Triggers: Stress, strong emotions, certain medications, and even food additives can sometimes trigger asthma flare-ups for some individuals. Keeping a symptom diary can help you pinpoint your personal triggers, allowing for better avoidance and management.

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person as well as in their intensity. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Wheezing: A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe, especially while exhaling, is a classic asthma sign.
  • Coughing: Coughing may be persistent, worsen at night, or occur when exercising or when exposed to your triggers.
  • Shortness of Breath: This might feel like you can’t catch your breath fully or that you’re unable to take a deep, satisfying breath.
  • Chest tightness: A sensation of pressure, constriction, or even pain around your chest can accompany asthma symptoms.

Remember, asthma symptoms fluctuate. You may have symptom-free periods followed by flare-ups (also called exacerbations). Identifying patterns in your symptoms, alongside the help of an asthma specialist in Midtown, New York, can shed light on your triggers and help you develop an effective management plan.

It’s also important to note that sometimes subtle symptoms, such as a persistent cough, might be the only sign of asthma. If you experience any of the symptoms listed, consult with a doctor or asthma specialist, such as board certified pulmonologist Dr. David Kamelhar or Dr. Eric Teller, to get a proper evaluation.

Asthma Diagnosis

If you suspect you might have asthma, getting a proper diagnosis is important for effective treatment. To diagnose asthma, your doctor will:

  • Review your medical history: They’ll ask detailed questions about your symptoms, their frequency and severity, any patterns you’ve noticed, your family history of asthma or allergies, and any potential triggers you’ve identified.
  • Physical Exam: The doctor will listen carefully to your breathing and perform a general physical check-up. They may also examine your nose, throat, and upper airways for signs of allergies.
  • Lung Function Tests: These tests provide objective measurements of how well your lungs are working. Spirometry measures how much air you can exhale and how quickly, while a peak flow meter measures the maximum airflow you can forcefully exhale. These values can help diagnose asthma and monitor its severity.
  • Allergy Testing: If allergic asthma is suspected, your doctor may recommend allergy testing. Skin-prick tests or blood tests can identify specific allergens that might be triggering your asthma. An asthma specialist in Midtown, New York, can help determine if allergy testing is relevant for you.
  • Additional Testing: In some cases, your doctor may recommend additional tests, such as chest X-rays, or tests to rule out other conditions that can mimic asthma symptoms.

Asthma Management and Treatment

Effective asthma management is a partnership between you and your healthcare provider. It often involves a combination of strategies tailored to your needs:

  • Medications: Inhalers are the mainstay of asthma treatment, allowing medication to be delivered directly into the airways.
    • Bronchodilators: These “rescue” medications relax the muscles around your airways, providing quick relief during flare-ups or before activities that tend to trigger symptoms.
    • Inhaled corticosteroids: These anti-inflammatory medications are the foundation of long-term control, reducing airway inflammation and preventing symptoms.
  • Long-term Control Medications: For some individuals, additional medications provide enhanced symptom control:
    • Leukotriene modifiers: These oral medications block substances that contribute to asthma inflammation.
    • Biologics: For severe asthma, injectable biologics offer a different approach by targeting specific immune system components. An asthma specialist in Midtown, New York, can help determine if these specialized treatments are appropriate for you.
  • Asthma Action Plan: Developed with your doctor, this written plan is your roadmap for managing asthma. It outlines how to monitor your symptoms, respond to flare-ups, adjust medications as needed, and when to seek emergency care.
  • Addressing Triggers: Working closely with your doctor or asthma specialist helps you identify your specific triggers. Once you understand what worsens your asthma, you’ll gain strategies to minimize exposure, a vital part of long-term management.

Lifestyle Modifications

These changes complement medical treatment and empower you to actively manage your asthma:

  • Avoiding Triggers: Knowing your triggers is the first step – then you can take action! An asthma specialist in Midtown, New York, can work with you to devise strategies specific to your triggers and your daily life in the city. This may involve using air filters indoors, staying indoors during peak pollen seasons, minimizing pet exposure, or finding ways to manage work-related triggers.
  • Regular Exercise: Physical activity is essential for overall health, including for people with asthma. However, for some, it also triggers symptoms. Your doctor or asthma specialist can work with you to develop a personalized exercise plan, which may include pre-treatment with medication to prevent exercise-induced asthma flare-ups. Don’t let asthma prevent you from staying active!
  • Nutrition and Hydration: A balanced, whole-food diet and staying properly hydrated support overall health and lung function. While there’s no specific “asthma diet,” some people find that certain foods can worsen their symptoms. Keeping a food and symptom diary can help you identify potential dietary triggers.
  • Additional Lifestyle Factors: Managing stress, getting adequate sleep, and maintaining a healthy weight can all play a supporting role in asthma management. Your doctor or asthma specialist can offer guidance on holistic approaches that complement your medical treatment plan.


Understanding your asthma type, triggers, and the best treatment plan are key to controlling this condition. Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance if you experience asthma symptoms. A personalized combination of treatment and lifestyle changes allows most individuals with asthma to live full and active lives.

If you’re struggling with asthma symptoms in the Midtown New York area, don’t let it control your life. The expert team at Kamelhar Pulmonary specializes in personalized asthma diagnosis and treatment. Schedule a consultation today and take the first step towards breathing easier.

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