Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and the airways, causing inflammation in the airway lining. When the lining is irritated, the muscles along the airways tighten, causing airways to become narrower and restricting the flow of air to and from the lungs. People with asthma are extremely sensitive to specific triggers, such as smoke, pollen, pet dander and even changes in temperature, experiencing flareups when their symptoms can become much worse. In some cases, strenuous exercise can also cause flareups.
The most common symptom associated with asthma is wheezing, a high-pitched whistling noise occurs in the lungs during breathing. Sometimes, wheezing can be loud enough to hear, while other times, it may be very mild and only detected using a stethoscope. Other symptoms include:
tightness in the chest
colds and coughs that last more than 10 days
flareups with changes in temperature or with strenuous exercise
Diagnosis begins with a physical exam and health history, as well as a review of your symptoms. Be sure to mention any colds or respiratory ailments that took a long time to resolve, as well as any family history of asthma, allergies or lung conditions. Your lungs will be listened to through a stethoscope, and you may also be asked to perform a breathing test to evaluate your lung capacity. Sometimes, chest x-rays may be ordered to rule out other diseases that can cause similar symptoms.
Inhaled medications are often prescribed to help open your airways and reduce inflammation during flareups. Both portable “pocket-sized” inhalers and at-home nebulizers are available, depending on your needs. It's also important to stay physically active and to try to avoid triggers that cause asthma flareups whenever possible.
Here is a short list of just some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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