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What Leads To Occupational Asthma & Can It Be Cured?

Asthma is a recurring disorder of the lungs that involves swelling of the airways. Asthma-related inflammation causes excessive mucus production within the airways, which results in constricted airways. The condition is triggered by various stimuli, such as pets, medication, pollutions, chemicals, hormones, exposure to cigarette smoke, cold viruses, and other pathogens in the environment.

A worker who develops an allergy or hypersensitivity to a workplace substance that results in an asthmatic reaction or signs is considered to have an occupational disease. An occupational disease is due to the nature of the worker’s current or past employment.

What Lead To Occupational Asthma?

Most individuals with asthma have unexpected attacks or cycles of troublesome or serious symptoms split by intervals of minor signs or no signs at all. Occupational asthma is an inhaling (lung) infection triggered by contact with a substance or allergen in the work environment. A trigger is a peripheral element or factor in the system that initiates asthma to develop or aggravate.

Examples of occupational asthma include health care workers who develop an allergy to latex gloves by breathing in the powdered proteins from the inner lining of the gloves.1

Irritant Induced And Sensitizer Induced Asthma Causes

Asthma is triggered by infection (blister) in the airways of the respiratory organs. When an asthma attack ensues, the lining of the air corridors swells up and the tissues enveloping the airways develop contraction. This turns the airways tighter and lessens the volume of oxygen that can traverse.

Occupational asthma is primarily caused by exposure to particular inhaled chemicals in the workplace that cause the airways to become excessively reactive. It often depends on the substance you’re exposed to, how long and how often you’re exposed, and other factors. This is called irritant induced asthma. These symptoms include sustained airway inflammation, neural plasticity, airway remodeling, persistent airway hyperresponsiveness.

However, in people who have sensitive airways, asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in substances called triggers. This is referred to as sensitizer induced asthma. This typically occurs when the body can develop a sensitization (an allergic-type) reaction when it is exposed continuously to a substance. Although this will not happen immediately yet will occur when you have long-time exposure to these sensitive substances.

Sufferers from sensitizer induced asthma experience attacks of difficult breathing, tightness of the chest, coughing, and breath sounds such as wheezing

Some of the substances or chemicals that trigger the conditions are as follows

  • Chemical fumes, gases or dust
  • Proteins in the animal hair/ dander
  • Chemicals such as adhesives, plastics, epoxy resins.2,3

Can Occupational Asthma Be Cured?

Occupational asthma can be cured as similar to conventional asthma, with respiratory drugs called bronchodilators that free the airways in addition to inhaled anti-inflammatory drugs. Acute wheezy breathing, occurring in the course of infancy, is correlated with a potent sensitized element, eosinophilia and weakened anti-inflammatory reaction to corticosteroid defiance.

Adult-onset asthma without airway eosinophilia may indicate a distinctive medical kind of asthma. Presumably, many cases went into “remission” displayed a reduction in asthma symptoms between the ages of 10 and 20 years. Although the seriousness of asthma indicators varies with age, the hereditary characteristics for breathing signs certainly not receded; and, many adolescents who got rid of asthmatic symptoms had lasting asthma symptoms in the future.

Even in the absence of current asthma symptoms, asymptomatic asthmatic subjects can still demonstrate substantial allergic-type limitations and show increases in bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Unlike genetic condition, the symptoms of work-related asthma can disappear completely if they are diagnosed early, and you have no more exposure to the trigger.4,5


  1. Occupational Asthma Causes, Diagnosis, Treatments, and More https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/occupational-asthma-work-related-asthma#1
  2. Occupational asthma: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000110.htm
  3. Occupational Asthma Treatments and Causes – MedicineNet https://www.medicinenet.com/occupational_asthma/article.htm
  4. Occupational asthma and work aggravated asthma | Asthma UK https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/understanding-asthma/types/occupational-asthma/
  5. Occupational Asthma Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment https://www.emedicinehealth.com/occupational_asthma/article_em.htm

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 27, 2020

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