Asthma is a condition where small airways located within the lungs have increased mucus, airway constriction and airway swelling. Asthma can range from mild to severe and symptoms can be intermittent or happen frequently. While asthma cannot be cured, its symptoms can be controlled.
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Common asthma symptoms:
- recurrent cough
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
Common asthma triggers
- respiratory infections (like the common cold)
- allergies (pollen, animal dander, mold, dust mite, cockroach)
- cold air
- air pollution and smoke
- strong odors and chemicals
- sinus problems
- strong emotions and stress
- stomach acid reflux
- certain medications (beta-blockers, aspirin, NSAIDS).
Asthma is the #1 chronic condition in childhood and responsible for many missed school days, night time symptoms, ER visits and hospitalizations. Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana treats many children for asthma. We prescribe medications and provide training on how to deal with asthma. We also create individualized action plans for home & school so the child knows what medicines to take and what to do in the event of an asthma attack.
Asthma in adults is also common and responsible for recurrent symptoms that interfere with (or are triggered by) the work place. We work with each patient to determine the right medications to prevent asthma attacks (or treat them upon onset.) An individualized action plan geared toward adults will also lay the groundwork in the event emergency help is needed.
Exercised-induced asthma (also known as exercise-induced bronchospasm – EIB) is uncommon. That’s because typically, asthma triggered by exercise (EIB) indicates that there’s underlying chronic asthma that is uncontrolled. Symptoms of asthma appearing during exercise may be the “tip of the iceberg.” We work with patients experiencing EIB and find the cause–then create solutions to treat all asthmatic problems. We work with both adults and children to prevent EIB and asthma-related problems so that patients may exercise and participate in all sports.
Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)
VCD can easily be confused with asthma; however, they are two different conditions. During VCD, difficulty breathing occurs primarily on inspiration (taking a breath in); asthma medications do not help. Frequently, VCD and asthma occur in the same patient. The more severe the asthma, the more likely VCD will provide complications.
Coughing that lasts longer than 4 weeks is abnormal, in both children and adults. A thorough evaluation during an office visit usually leads to the cause of coughing and a treatment plan.
Coughing may be the result of:
- post-nasal drip from allergies or sinus problems
- stomach acid reflux
- infections such as pertussis (whooping cough)
- a number of other less common reasons.