Difference Between Extrinsic Asthma and Intrinsic Asthma - Ask Any Difference

Difference Between Extrinsic Asthma and Intrinsic Asthma

Most of the population knows about the term asthma and what it looks like to have asthma, but often forget the different types of it. Extrinsic and Intrinsic are the two types of asthma that cause breathing issues to people all around the world. These both show similar symptoms but are entirely different in their causes and triggers.

Extrinsic Asthma vs Intrinsic Asthma

The main difference between extrinsic asthma and intrinsic asthma is that extrinsic asthma also known as allergic asthma is caused due to some allergic reactions and mostly affect younger people, while intrinsic asthma, known as non-allergic asthma, is caused by smoke, dust, anxiety, etc, and generally affect the old age people.

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Extrinsic asthma is allergic asthma which affects half of the population of people who already suffer from asthma. This type of asthma targets the younger generation and is usually inherited in them from their parents. Extrinsic asthma can be caused by airborne substances or through certain foods and drugs.

Intrinsic asthma is considered to be non-allergic asthma which usually affects the people of old age group. It occurs mostly in the patients that are vagotonic and have seizure attacks due to the physiological need for oxygen not being provided. Many factors trigger an intrinsic asthma attack which includes, cigarettes or wool smokes, perfumes, dust, etc.

Comparison Table Between Extrinsic Asthma and Intrinsic Asthma

Parameters of ComparisonExtrinsic AsthmaIntrinsic Asthma
DefinitionExtrinsic asthma is allergic asthma which is associated with certain allergens like dust.Intrinsic Asthma is non-allergic asthma that is associated with Uncertain stimulants like chemicals.
Age groupThis type of asthma attacks the old population.This type of asthma attacks the younger population.
DevelopmentInherited by birth.Develops later in life.
Percentage of cases . There are 90% of cases registered.There are 10% of cases registered.
TriggersTriggers for extrinsic asthma include certain foods, drugs or airborne elements, etc.Triggers for intrinsic asthma include home dust, cigarettes smoke, burning wood smoke, etc.

What is Extrinsic Asthma?

Extrinsic Asthma, also known as allergic asthma is caused by some specific group of allergens which includes pollens, dust or pet hair, etc. The symptoms of asthma include coughing when laughing or exercising or at night, finding it difficult to breathe, feeling tightness in the chest, or being out of breath. Extrinsic Asthma conditions can be magnified by the elements that provoke Intrinsic or non-allergic asthma-like infections, exercises or certain food or drugs, etc.

This asthma occurs when someone’s immune system highly reacts to certain harmless substances but the body produces and releases immunoglobin E or IgE, which is an antibody due to which the body feels the sensation and gets inflamed along with other symptoms. Identifying extrinsic asthma is easier as the allergens known, trigger the body and because of that, asthma is identified.

Extrinsic Asthma can’t be treated completely but the symptoms can be reduced by fixing the broken pipelines which will prevent the building up of mold, closing every door and windows when the count of pollen in the air is increased, keeping the room or the house clean to reduce house dust and keeping the pets away from the person having extrinsic asthma. Even though asthma is next to impossible to get filled cured. Omalizumab is an antibody that helps in reducing the symptoms of extrinsic asthma by reducing the IgE in the body.

What is Intrinsic Asthma?

Intrinsic asthma, also considered non-allergic asthma is highly seen in females in their old age and is more severe than other types of asthma. Intrinsic asthma generally affects the old generation and are developed late in their life. The symptoms of intrinsic asthma are similar to extrinsic asthma which includes coughing, feeling out of breath, tightness in the chest or pain in the chest, heavy breathing, and mucus blocking the airways. Intrinsic asthma is difficult to identify as it is caused by a huge range of common stimulants such as stress, anxiety, weather changes, cold or dry air, smokes from the burning of cigarettes or woods, viruses that infect the respiratory system, certain foods, and drugs.

For the detection of intrinsic asthma, there aren’t any tests available that may help to point the trigger out that may have caused asthma. Detection of asthma is a must, if not detected in time can be fatal. Intrinsic asthma might be difficult to identify but the treatment is easier and proper medication from the beginning can be used to treat asthma that is already in the body as well as prevent it from happening. For the treatment, there are two sets of medications available, which are the long-acting controller medications that are needed to be taken every day and the other is the short-acting rescue medication taken only when a seizure attack occurs.

Main Differences Between Extrinsic Asthma and Intrinsic Asthma

  1. Extrinsic asthma is caused by specific allergens while intrinsic asthma is caused by common stimulants.
  2. Intrinsic asthma is prone to transform into asthmaticus while extrinsic asthma is less prone to develop.
  3. Extrinsic Asthma attacks children or younger people whereas, intrinsic asthma affects people in their old age.
  4. Extrinsic Asthma develops early in life as it is inherited while intrinsic asthma develops late in life.
  5. Extrinsic Asthma is caused due to natural or environmental elements whereas, intrinsic asthma is caused by chemicals, infections, etc.
  6. During a skin prick test, extrinsic asthma shows positive results while intrinsic asthma shows negative results. 


In conclusion, asthma is a physical condition in which the airways of the respiratory system are inflamed and swollen and start to produce more mucus unnecessarily, which makes breathing difficult. Extrinsic is a type of asthma that is caused due to some allergens and are easily identified and affect children.

On the other hand, Intrinsic asthma is non-allergic and affects old people, which is why, identifying it is a difficult task but if identified in time, will reduce the chances of it being fatal. Even though there aren’t any cures for both types, the symptoms can still be deducted by proper medication, lifestyle, and prevention methods.


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