Asthma is a lung condition that is caused by inflammation in the lungs. This inflammation causes symptoms of wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, and coughing.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a lung condition that is caused by inflammation in the lungs. This inflammation causes symptoms of wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, and coughing. Symptoms are usually worse at night or the early morning. Symptoms can be worse with exercise, cold air, strong smells, with colds or respiratory infections, and when around allergens.
How do I know I have Asthma?
An allergist will diagnosis asthma by first taking a detailed history of symptoms, triggers, environment, and activities. A thorough physical exam will be performed. Based on the exam, tests may be recommended that may include breathing tests to determine lung volume and inflammation in the lungs, skin testing for environmental allergens, blood work, or radiographic imaging. Recommendations will then be made on how to control symptoms of asthma and prevent flare ups and damage to the lungs.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
Wheezing when exhaling, which is a common sign of asthma in children
Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Why I should see an allergist for Asthma
You should see an allergist if:
Your allergies are causing symptoms of difficulty breathing.
You experience hay fever or other allergy symptoms several months out of the year.
Your asthma is interfering with your ability to carry on day-to-day activities.
Your asthma decreases the quality of your life
You sometimes have to struggle to catch your breath.
You often wheeze or cough, especially at night or after exercise.
You are frequently short of breath or feel tightness in your chest.
You have previously been diagnosed with asthma, and you have frequent asthma attacks even though you are taking asthma medication.
Common ways to treat Asthma
By avoiding asthma triggers, taking medication, and carefully monitoring daily asthma symptoms, asthma attacks can be avoided or at least limited. Proper use of medication is the basis of good asthma control. Drugs used to treat asthma include bronchodilators, anti-inflammatories, leukotriene modifiers and immunomodulators. Good asthma control is using a rescue inhaler less than 2 times a week, waking up at night with asthma less than 2 times a month, and requiring steroids less than 2 times a year.