Types of Asthma

Not all asthma is the same. Through more research we are learning that asthma can mean different things to different people. This means you will need different treatments or medicine to suit your type of asthma. 

The type of asthma you have depends on how your asthma presents and what triggers your symptoms. It can be helpful to describe your asthma by type, also known as phenotype. Your asthma might fall under one or several types and fall across the range from mild to severe.  

Types of asthma include: 

1. Allergic asthma – caused by allergens such as pollen, dust, food items and mould

2. Non-allergic asthma – the cause of your asthma symptoms is not from an allergy trigger like dust mites or pollen. Also called non-atopic asthma.  

3. Thunderstorm asthma – mainly caused by allergies to rye grass pollen, during thunderstorm seasons in certain areas. 

4. Seasonal asthma – asthma that appears at certain times. For example: Autumn – change in weather temperature, Spring – pollen allergy, Winter – cold air or viral illness or wood smoke trigger. 

5. Occupational asthma – caused by workplace triggers such as chemicals, animal proteins, fumes, air quality, dust etc. 

6. Aspirinexacerbated asthma – caused as a reaction to taking aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen. 

7. Exercise-induced (bronchoconstriction)– usually caused by physical activities – can also happen for people without asthma. 

8. Childhood asthma – sometimes asthma only happens as a child and then seems to disappear. It can, however, come back later in life. 

9. Adult or late onset asthma – You may have had symptoms previously as a child. Or you may start having symptoms for the first time as an adult when a diagnosis is made. 

10. Nocturnal asthma – symptoms that worsen at night. Possible causes include change in temperature, dust mites, heartburn or sleep cycle. 

11. Mild asthma – very few symptoms, no night-time waking and no flare-ups in the past year. 

12. Severe asthma – also known as brittle, steroid resistant or difficult-to-treat asthma. Describes asthma that is managed with highest maximum inhaled asthma medicines, but asthma symptoms stay uncontrolled. This is despite treating all other factors that could affect asthma control. It can take the form of allergic, eosinophilic asthma or non-eosinophilic asthma. Find out more about severe asthma here.

Knowing what, or when your asthma is triggered and or how badly you are affected can help you be prepared for asthma symptoms. It can also help your doctor treat your asthma in a way that works best for you.