Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, making it difficult to breathe. It is estimated that 25 million Americans have asthma and it is one of the leading causes of work and school absenteeism. Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. It has no known cure, but by identifying triggers and developing a proper asthma management plan, asthmatics can lead a healthy, active life. A high percentage of asthma patients suffer from allergies. Up to 80% of childhood asthma patients and 70% of adult asthmatics have some allergies. Controlling allergies is the first step to controlling asthma.
People with asthma experience extensive narrowing of the airways throughout both lungs, resulting in symptoms that often include:
Asthma symptoms can occur daily, weekly, or infrequently, and can range from mild to severe. Many of these symptoms can be very frightening to patients and their families. It is extremely important to seek medical attention for this illness. It is the most common chronic illness among children and if left untreated or under-treated, asthma may result in a significant reduction in quality of life, with potential loss of lung function, exercise limitation, difficulty sleeping, school or work absenteeism, costly emergency room visits and in a few cases, even death.
Our board-certified allergy and asthma specialist will diagnose asthma after an extensive patient interview, physical exam, and a lung function test. Your doctor may ask about your medical history, including any allergies, examine your nose, throat, and upper airways and listen to your breathing. It is very important that you or your child follow the asthma management plan that your doctor has developed for you. Asthma may improve or worsen with changes in seasons and exposure to asthma triggers, therefore it is important to have regular check-ups to evaluate and monitor your asthma as medication changes are necessary from time to time.