Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by episodes of difficulty breathing, chest tightness, cough, and wheezing. It can be triggered by many things including allergies, exercise, or respiratory infections.
Asthma is a lung disorder in which the bronchioles (inner lining of the small breathing tubes within the lungs) become inflamed and swollen. Asthma may develop at any age, but it most commonly occurs either in early childhood or mid-adulthood.
Asthma that presents in childhood typically responds well to appropriate treatment and improves over time. Many cases that occur in adulthood respond well to treatment but tend to remain chronic.
Asthma has a strong genetic component and often runs in families. Individuals with allergic conditions such as food allergies, eczema and hay fever are at increased risk for the development of asthma as are individuals who have immediate family members with asthma.
Asthmatic symptoms are caused by spasms and narrowing of the bronchioles resulting in coughing (particularly at night or early morning), as well as wheezing, chest tightness, fatigue, or shortness of breath. Asthma attacks require prompt medical attention and should not be taken lightly. If you notice any of these symptoms coming on, it’s important to seek treatment right away.
The diagnosis of asthma starts with a detailed medical history and physical exam to help identify any potential triggers of asthma, other conditions that might trigger asthma (such as acid reflux/GERD or sinus disease), and illnesses that may mimic asthma. The diagnosis of asthma relies upon pulmonary function testing. Allergy testing is also typically performed as part of an initial asthma evaluation, as allergies are a trigger in up to 85% of individuals with asthma. Chest x-rays, blood work, and other tests are occasionally needed for the diagnosis and management of asthma, unless other medical problems are suspected.
Four Steps to Relief
Planning Your First Visit
Schedule an appointment at your local office and fill out our pre-registration and medical history forms to help minimize any wait time when you arrive.
Your First Visit
Your initial visit will last between two and three hours and consist of an initial consultation, evaluation, and comprehensive exam. We’ll create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.
Diagnostics and Testing
We may complete one or more tests to better understand the cause of your symptoms. Common tests include skin testing, pulmonary testing, and blood testing.
Following the evaluation and testing, we’ll provide a comprehensive diagnosis and implement a personalized treatment plan that will deliver relief.
Our team at Allergy Partners can help determine the cause of your asthma through medical history analysis, physical examination, and diagnostic testing. Based upon these findings we will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on:
- Avoidance of allergens and irritants: Allergy testing can pinpoint triggers to your asthma, and avoidance of these triggers can lead to significant improvement in asthma.
- Treatment of underlying medical conditions: Chronic sinus problems, acid reflux (heartburn), obesity, and other conditions may aggravate asthma. It is important that these problems be addressed in order to have optimal control of asthma. Since viral infections are common triggers of asthma, yearly flu vaccinations are also recommended for patients with asthma.
- Medications: Asthma medications can be divided into two broad categories, controller therapy and quick relief/rescue medicine. Controllers treat the underlying inflammation produced by asthma and must be taken adherently on a daily basis for maximal benefit. Despite using controller medicines daily, patients can often experience breakthrough symptoms. During these episodes, rescue inhalers help dilate the airways to help relieve symptoms of an asthma attack. For those with more severe asthma, newer biologic therapies may provide relief where other therapies are not sufficient.
- Immunotherapy: Allergy shots are the most effective long-term preventive strategy for the treatment of allergies and can improve asthma directly by reducing the sensitivity of the lungs to inhaled air-borne allergens, which can contribute to airway inflammation. Allergy shots are a great treatment option for patients who would like to reduce their reliance on medications over the long term. Allergy shots have also been shown to prevent asthma in allergic children who are at increased risk of developing asthma - the only preventative asthma treatment available.
The Allergy Partners Difference
As the nation’s largest medical practice solely dedicated to the treatment of asthma and allergies, Allergy Partners provides you and your family with a personalized treatment plan to control asthma and enjoy life more fully.
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