Our asthma clinic provides a full range of care for people suffering from this respiratory condition. We work closely with patients to complete a thorough assessment of the patient’s situation, and develop individualized treatment plans. We also offer coaching on how to avoid asthma triggers and prevent exacerbations.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease which affects the airways leading to the lungs. During an attack the bronchial passageway becomes inflamed, shrinking the available space for air travel, which makes breathing extremely difficult. A person experiencing an attack quite often experiences severe anxiety from effectively being unable to breathe. Symptoms of an attack include wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and often an inability to speak.
Learn more about asthma
Causes, Symptoms, Testing, Treatments
Causes of Asthma
The reason people have asthma is a genetic predisposition. Most people who suffer from this condition will find that other family members have a history of similar symptoms and experiences.
The causes for asthma attacks are all external, meaning the attack is the body’s response to an allergen or aggravating element such as smoke, very hot air, etc..
There are a fairly limited number of symptoms for this disease. While they do not sound particularly harsh, for the person suffering the attack they can be terrifying. Common signs include:
- Acute shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
Common Types of Asthma Testing and Diagnosis
There are several tests for assessing asthmatic conditions. These tests can also identify any coexisting conditions including allergies. The standard asthma tests are:
- Chest X-Ray which enables the physician to determine whether or not there are other medical conditions causing an attack.
- Lung Function Tests which includes methacholine and spirometry tests. These tests effectively measure air flow and capacity, which provide indications of obstructed airways.
- Allergy Tests are used to find allergy related triggers that cause attacks.
- Heartburn / GERD Evaluations are helpful because these conditions exacerbate asthma problems.
- Sinus Evaluation, which may or may not include a CT scan, is done to identify any nasal polyps or active sinusitis. Obstructed sinuses can cause breathing problems which compound the misery of respiratory ailments.
What to Expect During Your Appointment
During each visit you can expect us to complete a measurement of your lung function. Lung function testing is done using a peak flow meter and/or pulmonary function test(s).
We will also assess your asthma by asking about your symptoms. We may inquire bout; how often you use an inhaler, limitations in activity, night time coughing, and frequency of using oral steroids.
Based on your data we tailor an asthma action plan around your specific needs. We use a variety of treatments including oral medications, inhaled medications, lifestyle modifications, avoidance of triggers, and education about the disease.
There are no total cures, however; we have ways to help patients live a more enjoyable life. The best treatments for asthmatic conditions are:
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Steroids)
Inhaled steroids are extremely effective as a primary means of controlling asthma. By reducing swelling of bronchial tubes, and minimizing mucus production patients are better assured of having unobstructed breathing.
Inhalers provide almost immediate relief from an attack. For this reason, most people with this condition carry an inhaler at all times. There are two types of inhalers:
- Rescue Inhalers which provide immediate relief from restricted breathing, however these inhalers provide only short-term relief. Rescue inhalers are not intended to be a regular part of controlling attacks, and instead serve as somewhat of an emergency solution to an attack.
- Long Acting Bronchodilators are used in conjunction with inhaled steroid treatments, or for severe conditions.