Asthma, a chronic respiratory disease, causes wheezing and breathing difficulty from allergic reactions to external triggers such as dust, mold, fur and dust mites. Non-allergic asthma is a condition that is not brought on as an allergic reaction, but is triggered by factors such as exercise, stress, anxiety, cold or dry air and hyperventilation. It usually occurs after mid life as a result of frequent respiratory tract infections and is chronic in nature.
Non-allergic asthma attacks usually occur at the time of year when cold infections are common. Symptoms include wheezing, difficulty breathing, purulent nasal discharge and reddish discoloration of the mucous membranes. No residual symptoms are seen on resolution of the attack however there may be over-distention of the lungs and emphysema (damage to the air sacs in the lungs).
When you present with the above symptoms, your doctor will review your medical history, perform a thorough physical examination and order tests such as lung X-rays and blood work, to diagnose non-allergic asthma and identify its cause.
If an influencing factor or secondary cause of non-allergic asthma is identified, your doctor will recommend that you make appropriate changes in your environment. You are advised to treat any infection as early as possible and maintain a healthy diet. Antibiotics as well as steroids may be prescribed to treat infection and control inflammation. Vitamin supplements may also be prescribed. Breathing exercises may be recommended to restore the size of the lungs. Psychological counseling may be necessary for some.