Asthma is generally broadly classified to be of two types. These are the categories of bronchial asthma and the categorization is based on the simple criteria of the predominant factors that cause the disease. These two types are:
Extrinsic Asthma: Extrinsic asthma is classified as that form of asthma which develops when the people prone to it are exposed to surroundings containing various allergens. Generally these people do not show any symptoms and appear to be perfectly healthy but upon exposure to an allergen that has the potency to develop symptoms in them they can develop the symptoms of asthma very quickly.
The symptoms thus manifested can range from mild to chronic depending upon the reaction of the body towards the allergen. The people who generally develop asthma this way show a tendency towards other allergies and infections also like eczema. If tested it is seen that such people generally show allergic reactions to one or more than one allergens. These allergens can be of any kind. They can be food allergens or dust or animal dander or smoke or pollutants of any other kind.
It is important to understand that the people who are usually prone to this kind of asthma may have been suffering from recurrent mild to severe bouts of cold, cough and repeated sneezing. This happens generally because the respiratory tract becomes weakened with every such bout of cold and since the person is already prone to allergies, chances of his system contacting asthma become very high. This is also a type of asthma that is very prevalent in younger stages in life especially in smaller kids who get exposed to atmospheric pollutants a lot.
In the third world countries the situation is very bleak for patients showing tendencies of extrinsic asthma. This is because the laws controlling the effect of pollutants from various factories and developmental outlets are very poor and most of the time they are constantly flouted. So the tendency of extrinsic asthma can be really called as a developmental or lifestyle disease.
It is also seen that many of the patients who show tendencies of this type of asthma may continue to be prone to various allergies even in later stages of life. Sometimes allergy triggered off by one kind of allergen can be easily translated into a full blown asthmatic attack also.
Sometimes allergies caused by allergens may lead to asthma like symptoms but they do not qualify as full blown cases of asthma. Allergies are very difficult to detect because of the variety of allergens as well as the variety of reactions shown by the patients towards each. But careful analysis by a qualified doctor can lead to proper judgement in the detection of asthma.
Normally most cases of extrinsic asthma may benefit tremendously with anti-allergic treatments of different types. This is because the disease is mainly caused due to the allergen triggers and gets suppressed with adequate suppression of the allergen. But once the allergen is identified or even suspected the patients must take care in not exposing themselves to it to the extent possible.
Intrinsic Asthma: This type of asthma is generally not a resultant of allergic reaction to any kind of allergens. This may occur generally in the later stages of life. The disease may take full blown proportions and may manifest all of a sudden. This means that the disease has a way of attacking the people who do not have any known history of similar or even remotely similar disorders. This also applies to not having any genetic history of the disease. These facts make it very difficult for the patient as well as the doctor as the patient's psychological acceptance of any disease is of prime importance in any treatment. Since this disease is not triggered by allergens, these patients do not respond to the anti-allergic treatments of any kind.
Intrinsic asthma normally occurs due to some disease of the lung that may have existed for a long time but may not have been detected. Sometimes it is seen that the patients suffering from some kind of bronchial infection in the early stages of life develop intrinsic asthma all of a sudden after many years of the infection being cured and without any manifestation of any kind of symptoms of recurrence of the infection. This only goes to show that the lung infections need to be detected and treated properly and should never be neglected.