Do You Know Your IgE?
About 60 percent of the 20 million Americans who have asthma have the allergic type of asthma. Allergic asthma is triggered, or set off, by things such as pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, pollen or cockroaches.
Allergic asthma occurs when your immune system is hypersensitive. The immune system in a person with allergic asthma makes too much IgE, which is short for Immunoglobulin E, when exposed to the triggers mentioned above. IgE is a natural substance found in everyone's body. The extra IgE in an asthmatic, though, can set off asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.
Most people should be able to achieve control of their asthma with the proper medication and a plan to reduce exposure to allergic triggers. But if you have not achieved control, it might be time to ask your doctor, "What's my IgE?"
Knowing your IgE can confirm whether or not you have allergic asthma. Only a specialist is able to confirm this diagnosis. An IgE test—which is a simple blood test—can tell your specialist if your asthma is set off by allergens. Once that has been determined, you should be able to get a treatment plan specifically designed to manage allergic asthma—and that should lead to better asthma control.
To learn more about IgE and asthma, you can download the brochure from the Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America.