Types of Asthma, Complete List – With Symptoms and Severity

Posted December 18, 2020 by Prescription Hope - See Editorial Guidelines(Last Updated On: April 27, 2023)

We are often asked about types of asthma and they’re typically linked to the type of medication or asthma inhaler you have been prescribed.

You might be feeling some symptoms and are looking to research and identify what type of asthma is relevant to your symptoms. So, in this article, we’re outlining the types of asthma, their related symptoms, and more. Here is a brief list to get us started:

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Types of asthma:

  1. Allergic Asthma
  2. Adult-Onset Asthma
  3. Non-allergic asthma 
  4. Exercise-Induced Asthma
  5. Cough-Variant Asthma
  6. Occupational Asthma
  7. Nighttime (Nocturnal) Asthma

There are also levels of severity, so here’s a list of those to get started.

Types of asthma based on severity

Types of Asthma
  • Mild Intermittent
  • Mild Persistent
  • Moderate Persistent 
  • Severe Persistent 

For these, there are a variety of inhalers available. Here’s a quick list of the most common for reference purposes:

So, now that we have our list of the types of asthma let’s look at each of them in more detail.

Allergic Asthma

As the name suggests, this is asthma induced by allergies that you have. This is one of the most common types of asthma because allergies and asthma go very much hand-in-hand.

With this type of asthma, you will likely start feeling symptoms as soon as you inhale pollen or become exposed to any allergic agents. 

Most allergens enter your body through the airways, which swells your nasal passage. Accompanied by a runny nose, ongoing sneezing, excess mucus, scratchy throat, and watery eyes, all lead to asthma development.

Adult-Onset Asthma

This type of asthma is often diagnosed in adults who are above 20 years of age. More than half of adults above 20 years old who have adult-onset asthma also have allergies.

This also means that adult-onset asthma can result from irritants around the workplace, home, or other environments. And this type of asthma can develop suddenly. Below are some types of adults who are likely to develop adult-onset asthma.

  • Women who go through hormonal changes. This includes pregnant or menstruating women or women who are going through menopause.
  • Women who are taking estrogen medications after menopause for a longer period.
  • Those who have viruses such as cold or flu and other health conditions such as heartburn with reflux. 
  • Those who are exposed to frequent smoke, dust, mold, or animal feathers. 

Non-Allergic Asthma 

Non-allergic asthma refers to the asthma condition you get for reasons other than allergies.

As mentioned earlier, asthma is primarily triggered by an allergy, and that’s why allergies and asthma are known to go hand-in-hand.

So, non-allergic asthma is a type of asthma not triggered by an allergy and for which the causes are neither known nor fully understood. 

However, this type of asthma is known to develop in the later stages of life and is believed to be a severe asthma type.

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Exercise-Induced Asthma

Of all the types of asthma, this is the one triggered by exercise or other physical exertions.

This type of asthma is generally experienced by anyone who often goes to the gym and is generally fitness oriented. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone who does exercise will have asthma. 

People like Olympic athletes may develop exercise-induced asthma symptoms during exercise and may have no prior history of asthma.

In this type of asthma, you’ll likely feel symptoms developing 5-10 minutes after starting exercise and will peak to up to around 20 minutes or worsen just after you stop exercising.

Cough-Variant Asthma

With this type of asthma, severe cough is one of the primary symptoms.

The exact reason as to why a person develops this type of asthma is not fully known. However, respiratory infections or other health conditions related to the respiratory system could be one of the causes. 

Aside from this, conditions such as postnasal drip, chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or heartburn) can be the possible causes of this type of asthma.

However, this type of asthma is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. You may need a consultation with a lung specialist to find the best treatment that suits you.

Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma deals with your occupation and stems largely from the workplace or work environment that accompanies that occupation.

Depending on the severity of the workplace conditions that trigger this type of asthma, you will typically feel these asthma symptoms while at your place of work or in a specific work environment. But these conditions could continue for a while after you leave the environment. 

Many people suffer from a runny nose, eye irritation, cough, and congestion for this type of asthma more than they experience wheezing. 

Some common job occupations that can cause occupational asthma include animal breeders, carpenters, hairdressers, painters, gardeners, farmers, construction workers, and nurses.

Nighttime (Nocturnal) Asthma

Nighttime, or nocturnal, asthma is the type of asthma you might develop at night, or when you’re sleeping.

If you have nighttime asthma, you will likely experience symptoms such as a cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath but only at night. 

This type of asthma is largely triggered by your sleep and wake cycle (circadian rhythms), and so your sleep pattern greatly influences the likelihood of developing this type of asthma.

Nighttime asthma can develop because of airways cooling at night, combined with a reclining position, secretions that follow a circadian pattern, or even heartburn.

As you can probably see, the above asthma types either have an allergen or triggering agent that causes symptoms. The only exception to an asthma type that is not influenced by an external agent is non-allergic asthma.

Types of Asthma Based on Severity

Types of Asthma

Aside from these types of asthma, asthma types can also be categorized based on the severity or condition of asthma you’re experiencing.

These types of asthma can be categorized as follows:

Mild Intermittent Asthma

This severity of asthma has mild symptoms and is unlikely to hinder any of your daily activities. This type may also include exercise-induced asthma.

Symptoms for mild intermittent asthma occur up to around two days per week or two nights per month.

Mild Persistent Asthma

This is similar to mild intermittent asthma, but for this type, you’ll likely experience symptoms more than just twice per week or more than two nights per month.

When it comes to this severity of asthma, you’re unlikely to get symptoms more than once per day, but it may distract you somewhat when you do get them. 

Moderate Persistent Asthma

When it comes to moderate persistent asthma, you will likely develop symptoms more than once each day. You may also get symptoms at least one night each week, which may disrupt your sleep due to discomfort.

Severe Persistent Asthma

This type of asthma is at the highest stage of severity where you’ll probably have symptoms almost every day and many times of the day and even night.

The symptoms of this type of asthma are not controllable and without the use of medications.

However, depending on your condition, sometimes even medications may not respond well to this type of asthma. That is why it’s important to consult your doctor and obtain the right medication for your needs.

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As you can see, there are numerous types of asthma, and because some symptoms occur across a number of them, it’s often hard to decipher what is contributing to the cause.

Regardless of which type of asthma you think you may have, be sure to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and to get the right medication for your specific needs.

For more questions regarding your specific condition, always consult your healthcare provider.

If you’re having trouble affording any of the medications you’ve been prescribed, visit our home page to learn more about Prescription Hope’s medication access service, compare the costs of your current prescriptions, and see how we can help obtain your medications at a cheaper price. Fill out an application today and start receiving Brand-Name prescription medications at your doorstep. Call us at 1-877-296-HOPE (4673) to speak to one of our representatives, we’re always happy to see how we can help. Bringing Hope One Prescription At A Time.

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