Asthma is a common chronic condition. Asthma can cause difficulty in breathing that may be the result of inflamed or narrowed airways. Asthmatic patients might observe different symptoms and intensities of the condition depending on many factors.
When the airways to the lungs become inflamed, they become sensitive to substances that are inhaled with each breath. This sensitivity causes them to react differently to environmental elements that we call“triggers”.
Extra mucus may also be produced in asthmatic patients which also contributes to the restriction of air flow to the lungs. Additionally, muscles around airways tighten up further resisting air flow.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Mild to severe coughing
- Chest tightness and heaviness
- Trouble inhaling and exhaling
- Wheezing or panting
A combination of environmental and genetic factors may cause asthma. Asthma does run in families and exposure to allergens, certain viral infections,or other environmental factors can contribute to development of asthma.
Commonly triggers for asthma include:
- Dust mites
- Pollen in the air
- Frequent tobacco smoke inhalation
- Respiratory infections
- Over exertion or physical activity
- Allergic reactions to certain foods
- Frequent breathing of cold air
Proper diagnosis is critical. Call WestchesterMedical Healthcare to schedule an appointment with our Pulmonary Specialist.
For many,Asthma is easilyconfused with frequent colds, coughs, or other respiratory infections. A trained pulmonary specialist can diagnose, treat, and manage these symptoms with effective medications. Regular visits and PFTs (Pulmonary Function Tests) give the doctor and patient insight into thestability and control of this chronic condition.
There are two different types of asthma medications prescribed by physicians. There is quick relief and long-term medication. Acute asthma symptoms can be treated with quick-relief medication, such as short-acting beta2-agonists. This medication is inhaled, which provides quick-relief by allowing more air to flow to the lungs. Asthmatic patients are usually advised to have a quick-relief inhaler spray on them at all times.
Long-term asthma medication is taken daily in order to help prevent symptoms from developing. Inhaled corticosteroids are common long-term asthma medications that reduce airway inflammation and may decrease airway sensitivity.
Asthma oftenoccurs during the childhood years. It is estimated that of the 25 million asthma patients in the U.S. alone, 7 million are children, many of which develop symptoms before the age of 5. Symptoms include a wheezing or whistling sound while breathing, coughing, rapid, or labored breathing. Additionally, be aware ifyour child is complaining about chest pain and fatigues easily.
In fact, one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for children is asthma. Children are also most likely to miss or skip school as a result of asthma attacks and conditions. Whilesome children may grow out of these symptoms as they get older, people diagnosed with asthma in adulthood will most likely experience this as a chronic condition.