Asthma is a chronic, complex disease that makes breathing difficult. It affects more than 25 million Americans, out of which 7-8 million are children. There are nearly 2 million emergency-room visits each year for acute asthma flare. With good medical management, both children and adults can lead a normal life, even with asthma.
Watch for these symptoms
Asthma occurs when the airways become inflamed and swollen and then tighten. They also get filled with thick mucus. These changes result in difficulty in the movement of air to the lungs. Symptoms can occur daily or intermittently and include:
- Coughing, especially at night
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pressure
The symptoms can be brought on by certain exposures (irritants, allergens, exercise), or they can be persistent.
Asthma attacks can be severe and frightening
Worsening of asthma may cause:
- Rapid breathing
- Chest pain
- Difficulty talking
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Chronic cough, especially with laughing or exercise
What causes asthma?
It is known that allergies (e.g. airborne pollens and dust mites) are the main contributors of asthma in many children and adults. But there are many people who have asthma and no allergies at all. Although all the fundamental causes of asthma are not known, both environmental and genetic factors play a role in the inflammation of the airways typical of asthma.
Board-certified allergist can help form an accurate diagnosis and identify “triggers”
During an office visit, a detailed medical history and physical examination will be followed by tests, as necessary. There are many different kinds of asthma as well as degrees of severity. Infact, asthma can begin at any time during one’s lifetime. Our board-certified allergists at The Allergy Group treat all forms of asthma in both adults and children. The tests for asthma include:
- Spirometry: These lung function tests will measure your lung function
- Methacholine challenge: done only if the diagnosis cannot be established with spirometry
- NIOX (nitric oxide test). This new, noninvasive test measures the amount of nitric oxide exhaled and helps determine the degree of inflammation in your lungs
A personalized asthma plan to help you breathe better
A personalized asthma treatment plan to help manage your asthma and prevent flares will be developed by the allergist. Most plans are based on treatment with handheld (inhaled) medications – two main categories being bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory medications (corticosteroid type medications). Other medications like Singulair or Xolair are used in special cases.
What is Xolair™ (anti-IgE) for asthma?
Anti-IgE treatment (omalizumab), trade name Xolair, is a medication approved for asthma for several years. It is used in the more severe allergic asthmatics who don’t respond to the usual asthma treatment. It is given as a subcutaneous injection once or twice a month. In carefully selected patients, it can be dramatically effective. It is usually only given in asthma specialists /allergists offices, as opposed to a primary care office.
Immunotherapy, only if it is correct for you
With lifestyle modifications and medications, your allergy symptoms may improve. If your symptoms are not sufficiently controlled, you do not like taking medications, or want to strengthen your immune system, allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be prescribed. To begin, you will be given injections once or twice weekly. Eventually injections are given monthly for 3-5 years.
The Allergy Group - Friendly, capable and experienced
Our team of physicians and healthcare professionals at The Allergy Group are highly experienced and trained to provide you with the best care. We are committed to your personal healthcare.
Read our Asthma Resource Guide
The allergy group has released a resource guide on asthma. This resource guide covers everything you need to know about asthma, and provides resources on topics like what you should do if someone has an asthma attack, what are the risk factors of asthma, and how do you know if you have asthma.Read the Asthma Resource Guide