What is asthma?
Asthma is a breathing disorder that causes your airways to narrow, swell, and produce excess mucus. Left unmanaged, asthma makes breathing more difficult and triggers symptoms such as wheezing and coughing.
It most often starts in childhood however people of all ages can suffer from it. The severity of asthma varies from person to person. For some people, the condition is a minor annoyance; for others, asthma interferes with daily activities, such as walking the dog or climbing a flight of stairs. Asthma kills about 255,000 people every year in the world.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma affects everyone differently. However, some symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Trouble sleeping
How is asthma diagnosed?
To diagnose asthma, your provider conducts an interview and a physical exam. If these methods don’t provide adequate insights, your provider might recommend a lung function test, such as spirometry or peak flow.
How is asthma treated?
There’s no cure for asthma, but thanks to modern medications and treatment methods, it’s possible to manage.Treatment for asthma depends on the severity of your symptoms.
For many patients with asthma, their asthma is controlled by identifying and avoiding triggers, taking a daily inhaled or oral controller medication, and using a quick-relief inhaler when symptoms develop. For some patients though, these medications are not enough to control their asthma. Recently, several new medications, known collectively as “biologics,” have been approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe asthma.
Another form of treatment for severe asthma is Bronchial Thermoplasty. It delivers thermal energy to the airways of the lungs, decreasing the amount of smooth muscle, and ultimately resulting in less muscle to constrict around the airways. This means fewer asthma symptoms occur. It is mostly used for severe asthma that doesn’t improve with typical asthma medicines. Animation of Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) with the Alair® System
Developing an asthma treatment plan can significantly improve your quality of life. If you think you may be suffering from asthma, expert pulmonologist Luis Chug, MD and his team can help you determine your diagnosis during an appointment, and what treatments will be right for you.