IAsthma affects the airways, causing them to narrow and swell. Patients with this condition also produce excess mucus that makes breathing difficult. Asthma affects patients differently, but, for some, it’s little more than an occasional issue. For others, though, it’s a potentially life-threatening problem that controls how they live.
There’s no cure for asthma, but management is crucial. Most asthmatics learn the best way to control their symptoms and prevent attacks with the help of a medical professional like Dr. Stahl.
What causes asthma?
No one understands why some people develop this chronic condition, but the symptoms are caused by an immune system response. When exposed to an irritant of some kind, such as cigarette smoke or pollen, the body triggers an inflammatory response causing the airways to swell.
While medical science might not know exactly why asthma occurs, there are some common risk factors:
Having at least one other allergic condition such as eczema
Exposure to secondhand smoke
Frequent exposure to common triggers such as exhaust
What are the symptoms of asthma?
The symptoms will vary by patient and trigger, but no two patients react the same way to every situation. Some common symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Coughing and wheezing that interferes with sleep
Coughing and wheezing that worsens when you are sick
There are also different kinds of asthma, defined by when a flare-up occurs. For example:
These patients need specialized care in other to figure out what to do if they do have an attack.
What are the treatments for asthma?
A comprehensive treatment plan for asthma will include testing, medication and lifestyle changes. Dr. Stahl will start with in-office tests to measure lung function. Spirometry, for instance, measures the narrowing of the bronchial tubes: the patient will take a deep breath and blow out, and the meter measures how much air comes out.
The drug treatment will depend on the extent of the problem, but most therapeutic plans focus on long-term management and prevention. Asthma patients usually carry a rescue inhaler in case of an attack. This is medicine such as albuterol that provides immediate relief on demand. Dr. Stahl’s care plan will include identifying triggers, too, and finding ways to avoid them.