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Asthma

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Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs and airways where these passages swell and tighten, making breathing difficult. Asthma is typically diagnosed in childhood but can also be identified in adulthood. Childhood asthma can improve over time, but some people will remain asthmatic through adulthood and scientists are not yet sure why some people’s conditions improve but others do not. Additionally exercise or an illness, like a respiratory infection, can cause temporary breathing difficulties akin to asthma.

When asthma symptoms are present it is commonly referred to as an asthma attack. An asthma attack can be scary, and the first time that a person experiences an asthma attack it is important to seek medical care as some severe asthma attacks can be life threatening. Your doctor can help you identify asthma triggers and possibly prevent the decline of lung function over time.

At Connerton Family Medicine, Dr. Marrero and her expert medical team can help you or your family to identify what triggers your asthma attacks and determine your best means of avoiding or controlling the symptoms. As a family medicine physician Dr. Marrero is able to treat adult and pediatric asthma.

Symptoms

  • Chest tightness
  • Extreme shortness of breath
  • A frequent, unproductive cough
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Wheezing

Asthma can be hereditary, so if someone in your family has asthma it is possible that you or your children may also have asthma. Children may be unable to vocalize their symptoms as clearly as an adult might, so frequent wheezing and coughing early in the morning or at night may be the most telling symptoms.

Asthma Causes

Scientists are unsure exactly what causes some people to have asthma, though it is believed to be a combination of environmental and genetic factors. The swelling and tightening of the lungs and bronchial tubes cause asthma symptoms. These airways simultaneously increase their production of mucus, making breathing difficult. Certain triggers activate these symptoms and asthma triggers can vary from person to person. Your doctor can help you to identify what activates your worst asthma symptoms, so that you can avoid those allergens. Some common asthma triggers include:

  • Food allergies
  • Dust, mold and pollen
  • Pet dander
  • High stress occurrence
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Respiratory illness (cold, flu)
  • Smoke (including secondhand smoke)  
  • Some medicines

A note on exercise-induced asthma – though exercise can cause asthma symptoms in some people, that does not mean that exercise should be avoided. Dr. Marrero has extensive training in exercise science and was a certified personal trainer. This expertise means that she can best advise what exercises and conditions may be best for you.

Treatment Options

  • Avoiding triggers
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Inhalers
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Nebulizer treatments

It is important to note that if your asthma worsens or you find yourself using “rescue” medications, like an inhaler, more frequently than usual please communicate this change with your physician.

If you or someone you love needs a consultation for asthma diagnosis or treatment, please contact the Connerton Family Medicine team at 813.803.7907 or online today!