What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the lungs. Asthma causes inflammation in the lungs and narrows the airways. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing; which are common in an asthma attack. Symptoms are usually worse at night and in the early morning or in response to exercise or cold air.

What causes asthma?

No one really knows what causes asthma, but people who have another allergic condition such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or atopic dermatitis (eczema) or who have a relative with asthma are at high risk for having asthma themselves. Other risk factors for asthma are obesity and exposure to second hand smoke.

Many factors can trigger asthma. Respiratory infections such as colds, flu, sore throats, and sinus infections are the number one asthma trigger in children. Allergies with asthma are also a common problem. Eighty percent of people with asthma have allergies to airborne substances such as tree, grass, and weed pollens, mold, animal dander, dust mites, and cockroach particles. Exposure to these allergens can make their asthma symptoms worse. Exercise-induced asthma is also a form of asthma that is triggered by over exertion. Weather and smoke exposure can also affect people with asthma.

In the United States asthma is the leading cause of pediatric hospital admission, with readmission rates between 10 percent and 40 percent. Asthma affects more than 25 million adults and children in the U.S.

How Is Asthma Treated and Controlled?

Your doctor will consider and monitor many factors when deciding which asthma medicines are best and how to properly handle which care is best for you. Your doctor will then monitor the medication and treatment with follow-up appointments. She will adjust the dose or medicine as needed. It is best to work with your doctor to have an asthma action plan. With proper treatment and management people with exercise induced asthma can participate safely and achieve their full potential. Proper management requires that you take steps to prevent symptoms and carefully monitor your respiratory status before, during and after exercise. Taking medication prior to exercising is important in preventing exercise induced asthma. Proper warm up for 6 to 10 minutes before periods of exercise or vigorous activity will usually help. Individuals who can tolerate continuous exercise with minimal symptoms may find that proper warm up may prevent the need for repeated medications.

It is best to have follow-up appointments with you doctor a few times a year if your asthma is not under control or every six months if you asthma is well controlled.

If you are concerned your child may have asthma please contact our office and get an appointment as soon as possible.


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