Asthma: Caused by a Trigger or an Autoimmune Disease?


Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung condition that affects the airways. The airways are the tubes through which air enters and exits your lungs. Asthma causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways. This makes it more difficult for air to exit your airways when you exhale.

It is unknown what causes asthma. Pollen, exercise, or an irritant can all be asthma triggers, depending on the type of asthma a person has. There is no cure for asthma at the moment, but avoiding triggers and following a potential Asthma treatment plan can help manage it.

Explore this article to learn more about asthma, different types of asthma, its triggers, and whether or not “Is Asthma an autoimmune disease?”

What Happens in Asthma?

People who suffer from Asthma have sensitive airways that become inflamed when there is any exposure to triggers. Inflamed airways make breathing difficult, resulting in mild symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.

Asthma currently affects over 25 million people in the United States. This figure includes over 5 million children. Asthma is frequently misdiagnosed and undertreated, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Asthma can be a minor annoyance for some people. But for others, it can be a significant issue that disrupts daily activities and may result in a life-threatening asthma attack. People with untreated asthma may experience sleep disruption, daytime fatigue, and poor concentration. Asthmatics and their families may miss school and work, causing financial hardship for the family and the wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may require emergency medical attention and be admitted to a hospital for treatment and monitoring. Asthma can be life-threatening in the most severe cases.

Symptoms of Asthma

The symptoms of asthma appear different from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks i.e., symptoms only at certain times (for example, when exercising), or all of the time.

Asthma symptoms and signs include:
1. Breathing difficulty.
2. Tightness or pain in the chest.
3. One typical sign of childhood asthma is wheezing when exhaling.
4. Shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing makes it difficult to sleep.
5. Respiratory viruses like the flu or the common cold can exacerbate coughing or wheezing attacks.

Some people’s asthma symptoms worsen in certain situations. These are:

Exercise-induced asthma:

The timing of these symptoms is closely related to physical activity for many asthma patients. Furthermore, some otherwise healthy people develop asthma symptoms only when they exercise. This is also referred to as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB).

Allergic Asthma:

People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more likely to develop the condition. Many asthmatics also have allergies. This is known as allergic asthma.

Occupational Asthma:

Inhaling fumes, gasses, dust, or other potentially hazardous substances on the job causes occupational asthma.

Childhood Asthma: Millions of children and their families are affected by childhood asthma. In fact, the majority of asthmatic children develop the disease before the age of five.

Asthma Types Include

Adult-onset asthma:

Asthma symptoms appear in adults. An event, such as a respiratory virus, frequently causes the onset.

Allergic asthma:

Common allergens, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander, cause asthma attacks.

Non-allergic asthma:

This type of asthma is triggered by sources other than allergens. As a result, instead of pollen in the air, stress or cold air can set off an asthma attack.
Asthma-COPD overlap: This is a combination disease in which a person suffers from both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

There is also an asthma subtype known as eosinophilic asthma. It is caused by a specific type of white blood cell from the immune system, which contributes to the condition’s symptoms.

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease is defined as when a body part or system is mistakenly attacked by the immune system because it believes it to be an alien invader, and autoimmune diseases result. The body creates antibodies that unintentionally attack healthy body cells in autoimmune diseases. This blog will answer the question of whether or not, “Is Asthma an autoimmune disease?”

A virus, for example, can act as an environmental trigger for autoimmune diseases, causing the immune system to “misfire” and attack the body instead. However, sometimes there is no known trigger or cause for other autoimmune diseases.

Is Asthma an Autoimmune Disease?

No. Asthma is not considered an autoimmune disease. Even though an immune reaction also contributes to asthma, it cannot be regarded as an autoimmune disease. Instead, because it primarily affects the lungs, it is a chronic lung disease. 

Asthma attacks can be brought on by respiratory problems. Your risk of catching respiratory illnesses like the common cold, influenza, bronchitis, or COVID-19 may increase if your immune system is already compromised.

Asthma attacks can be triggered by common triggers such as smoke, cold air, pollen, illness, etc. that cause lung inflammation and excessive mucus (also called exacerbations).

How is Asthma Diagnosed?

Your doctor will go over your medical background, including details about your parents and siblings. You’ll be asked certain questions by your doctor about your symptoms as well. Any history of allergies, eczema (an itchy rash brought on by allergies), or other lung conditions must be disclosed to your healthcare provider.

Your doctor might ask for spirometry. This test gauges how well your lungs are working and is used to both diagnose and track your recovery. A skin test, blood test, or chest X-ray may be prescribed by your doctor.

How is Asthma Treated?

There are methods you can use to control your asthma. To control symptoms, your doctor may recommend medications. These include:


These drugs ease the muscles that surround your airways. The airways could move because the muscles are relaxed. They make it easier for the mucus to pass through the airways. These medications are used to treat both intermittent and chronic asthma and provide temporary symptom relief.

Anti-inflammatory drugs:

These drugs lessen airway swelling and mucus production. They facilitate the flow of air into and out of your lungs. To manage or prevent your chronic asthma symptoms, your doctor may prescribe them for daily use.

Biological Therapeutics:

When symptoms of severe asthma persist despite proper inhaler therapy, biological therapies are used.

Asthma medications can be taken in a variety of ways. Using a nebulizer, metered-dose inhaler, or another type of asthma inhaler, you can breathe in the medications. You might be given oral medications to swallow by your doctor. 


Both autoimmune diseases and asthma are characterized by impaired immune function. But asthma is not regarded as an autoimmune condition. 

Here we answer one of the most frequently asked questions, “Is Asthma An Autoimmune disease?” The immune system attacks typical, healthy cells in autoimmune diseases. But in asthma, the body’s immune response is heightened, leading to asthma symptoms. The body frequently responds to a trigger, such as pollen, physical activity, or an irritant in the lungs, by mounting an immune response that results in swelling and mucus in the lungs’ airways.

If you notice any changes in your breathing pattern, it’s important to monitor your symptoms and speak with your doctor. Additionally, being aware of your condition at a basic level can help you control your symptoms and lead a healthy life. There are multiple Clinical Research Organizations in Michigan, and Texas that are conducting Clinical Trials in search of potential treatments for conditions such as Asthma and they help us understand more about the disease states. 

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