Few experiences are as scary as being unable to breathe. But that’s exactly what can happen if you have asthma. Asthma is a chronic condition that requires careful monitoring. Golden Corner Family Practice physicians treat many patients with asthma, helping them to control and manage symptoms. Call or book an appointment online today if you think you or a loved one may have asthma.
Asthma is a chronic condition that narrows and inflames your airways, making it difficult to breathe and causing excess mucus, coughing and wheezing. An asthma attack, also called a flare-up, can occur spontaneously, lasting from a few minutes to hours or even days.
Some people have mild asthma (mild intermittent -- two days a week and two nights a month) and mild persistent (more than twice a week). However, some cases of asthma are severe (moderate persistent -- once a day and once a week at night) and can even be life-threatening (severe persistent -- lasting all day).
Your doctor can’t cure asthma, but he or she can help you manage it. Symptoms can change over time, so it’s important to get regular check-ups.
Symptoms vary. You might have symptoms only on occasion, or you could have them the majority of the time. Sometimes they flare up during or after exercise.
Your doctor performs a complete physical exam, but also conducts lung (pulmonary) function tests to see if you have a normal amount of air available when you breathe. A spirometry test determines if your bronchial tubes have narrowed. A peak flow test measures how well you can breathe air out.
If you have allergies, they can be a cause of your asthma. If allergies show up in your family history, you ’re more likely to have asthma. Your doctor is likely to perform allergy tests. If they’re a contributing factor to your asthma, you receive allergy treatment -- either medication or allergy injections.
Your doctor prescribes medications that work best for you, considering your age, symptoms, and triggers. Preventive, long-term medications, such as corticosteroids taken daily, reduce the inflammation in your airways that leads to symptoms and are the anchor in asthma treatment. Inhalers (bronchodilators) offer quick relief and open airways if you have trouble breathing. You should be vaccinated for flu and pneumonia.
Form an action plan. Know and avoid triggers. Call or book an appointment online today if you suspect you or a family member have asthma.