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The Asthma Roadmap: Learning the Basics About Asthma

Roadmap to Asthma

1 in 12 Americans have asthma. We’ve put together this roadmap to guide you on your journey.

Asthma can be scary. But like anything, its navigating through all the things you don’t know that can increase anxiety, cause detours along the way in treatment, and make symptoms seem more difficult to manage. If you’re like the 1 in 12 Americans who experience coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and pain and tightening in the chest, we’ve put together this easy-to-follow roadmap to help guide you on your journey to feeling great! So, buckle up, sit back, and relax. We got you!

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and constriction of the bronchial tubes—you know, those super-highways that allow air to flow in and out of your lungs.

“Clark, slow down!”

Like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation, who hasn’t tried to do too much too fast, without fully knowing what’s around the next corner? For a smooth journey, you first need to recognize a few speed traps that come in the form of causes and symptoms.

  • Allergy-induced asthma is when allergens such as pollen, mold or pet dander causes the body to release histamines into the immune system. Runny nose itching, sneezing and coughing sometimes results in asthma symptoms.
  • Exercise-induced asthma is when physical exertion causes the air passages to tighten, resulting in wheezing or difficulty breathing. These narrowing passages usually peak between five to twenty minutes after exercise begins and sometimes worsens a few minutes after stopping.
  • Cough-variant asthma happens when severe cough becomes the predominant symptom. Though underdiagnosed and undertreated, cough-variant asthma is usually a result of exercise or respiratory infection. Post-nasal drip, sinusitis and even heartburn be a cause of asthma-related coughing.
  • Occupational asthma occurs when a person’s job becomes the predominant trigger. Some common occupations include pet groomer, woodworker, painter, or hairdresser.
  • Nighttime or nocturnal asthma happens when sleep-wake cycles (aka circadian rhythm) cause symptoms to be much more severe. In fact, studies show that most asthma related deaths happen at night due to increased exposure to allergens, cooling airways, reclined position and even hormone fluctuations that are caused by circadian rhythm.

Okay, so what are the common signs/symptoms of asthma?

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressure/pain in the chest

What are triggers for asthma?

Like a black Trans Am with a license plate that reads BANDIT needs to avoid the county sheriff, asthma sufferers should proceed with caution when encountering any of these common triggers:

What does Smokey & The Bandit have to do with asthma? A good metaphor, but that’s about it.
  • Allergens
  • Exercise
  • Some medicines
  • Illness
  • Some medicine
  • Weather
  • Stress
  • Smoke
  • Even some foods

“I’m gonna’ come at you like a spider monkey!”

If Ricky Bobby and Talladega Nights taught us anything, it’s that sometimes you have to make unexpected pitstops during the race. The same can be true for asthma suffers and the infamous attacks.

What do you do when symptoms turn into a full-fledged attack?

First, you need to have a plan. The board-certified allergists at Allergy and Asthma Care, Inc. can help you target your specific triggers and customize a treatment regimen that’s right for you. The most important thing to remember is stay calm. Then, use the medicines your doctor prescribed. If the attack is particularly severe, seek emergency treatment immediately.

While there is no cure for asthma, there are many effective treatments available to lessen the symptoms and severity of attacks. In fact, studies show that patients who work with a specialist reduce their time spent out of work/school, emergency room visits, sick visits to the doctor and overall healthcare costs. So why wait? Put the pedal to the metal and schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified allergists at one of our five locations today.