What Is Asthma?

One of the most common long-term diseases of children is asthma. However, adults can have asthma, too. Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs and can cause wheezing, tightness in  your chest, shortness of breath and coughing. If something is bothering your lungs, you could have an asthma attack.

We aren’t clear about everything that can cause asthma, but we do know that genetic, environmental, and occupational factors have been linked to developing asthma. If someone in your immediate family has asthma, you are more likely to have it. “Atopy,” the genetic tendency to develop an allergic disease, can play a big part in developing allergic asthma. However, not all asthma is allergic asthma.

Being exposed to some allergens such as dust mites and secondhand smoke have been linked to developing asthma. Air pollution, mold and viral lung infections may also lead to asthma.

Occupational asthma occurs when someone who never had asthma develops it because he or she is exposed to something at work. This can happen if you develop an allergy to something at work such as mold or if you are exposed to irritants such as wood dust or chemicals at work over and over at lower levels or all at once at higher levels.

We provide nebulizer treatments to help those who are having difficulty breathing.

How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma?

During your visit, the doctor will ask you a variety of questions and possibly do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working by testing how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath. The doctor will have you do this breathing test before and after you use asthma medicine to determine whether or not you have asthma.

What Is An Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. The attack happens in your body’s airways, which are the paths that carry air to your lungs. As the air moves through your lungs, the airways become smaller, like the branches of a tree are smaller than the tree trunk. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in your lungs swell and the airways shrink. Less air gets in and out of your lungs, and mucous that your body makes clogs up the airways.

You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an asthma attack, staying away from things that cause an attack, and following your doctor’s advice. When you control your asthma:

  • you won’t have symptoms such as wheezing or coughing,
  • you’ll sleep better,
  • you won’t miss work or school,
  • you can take part in all physical activities, and
  • you won’t have to go to the hospital.

What Causes An Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to certain triggers. Some common asthma triggers are cigarette and cigar smoke, dust, dust mites, outdoor pollution, pet hair and dander, mold and even smoke from a bonfire or burning grass. Sometimes a cold or flu can also trigger your asthma.

How Is Asthma Treated?

Nebulizer treatments are an effective way to provide quick relief of your asthma symptoms. Be sure to take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and do your best to stay away from things that can trigger an attack to control your asthma.

Asthma medicines come in two type. A quick-relief such as an inhaler and long-term control such as a pill. An inhaler and/or a nebulizer treatment helps control the symptoms of an asthma attack. Longer-term control medicines help you have fewer and milder attacks overall, but they don’t help you during an asthma attack.

With your doctor’s help, you can control your asthma and you can make your own asthma action plan.

Feel free to call ahead to schedule a visit at 203-334-2100.