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Asthma is a widespread health condition that affects people of all ages Whether you or your child have experienced asthma symptoms, our family doctors can help you find the medical relief you need.

Asthma is a chronic lung disorder that affects millions globally. It causes inflammation and muscle tightening around the airways, making it harder to breathe, and can also be accompanied by wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Asthma affects people of all ages, but is most commonly diagnosed in children. There is no permanent cure for asthma; however, if diagnosed it can be treated effectively by a medical professional.

What Causes Asthma?

We don’t know everything that can cause asthma, but we do know that genetic, environmental, and occupational factors have been linked to developing asthma.

  • Genetic: Asthma tends to run in families, so if a close family member has asthma, you may be at a higher risk.
  • Allergic / Environmental: This is most common, especially in children, and triggered by allergens such as dust mites, pollen, pet dander, or smoke.
  • Occupational: This classification occurs when someone who has never had asthma develops it later in life because they are regularly exposed to irritants, usually at work.

What are the Symptoms of Asthma?

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person. Common asthma symptoms include:

  • Dyspnea or difficulty breathing
  • Coughing, particularly at night or early morning
  • Wheezing: A whistling sound produced during breathing
  • Chest tightness: A sensation of pressure or squeezing in the chest
  • Asthma attacks: a sudden worsening of the above symptoms. Asthma attacks can range from mild to severe. Mild attacks may resolve with quick-relief medications, while severe attacks require immediate medical attention.

Symptoms may occur or worsen with exposure to certain triggers. One person’s asthma triggers can be very different from another person’s asthma triggers. Some of the most common triggers are smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution, pests(cockroaches, mice), pets, and infections like flu or RSV.

Diagnosing Asthma

Not everyone with a persistent cough has asthma — proper diagnosis from a doctor is needed to find out if you or your child has asthma. This is the first step to managing asthma effectively. If you suspect you or your child might have asthma, talk to your doctor at River Bend Medical Associates. During your doctor’s visit, they will ask detailed questions about your or your child’s symptoms and medical history. They may also perform a physical exam and breathing tests to assess lung function.

Why diagnosis and treatment are important:

  • Reduces the frequency and severity of asthma attacks
  • Improves lung function and overall health
  • Helps prevent long-term lung damage
  • Allows participation in physical activities

Treatment Options for Asthma

There’s no single asthma treatment that works for everyone. Your doctor at River Bend Medical Associates will develop a personalized treatment plan based on your needs and the severity of your condition. Asthma is commonly managed with medications. Asthma medicines come in two types—quick-relief and long-term control.

  • Quick-relief inhalers: These medications provide rapid relief from asthma attacks by relaxing the airways.
  • Long-term control medications: These are taken daily to help you have fewer and milder attacks.
  • Other therapies: In some cases, allergy shots or other treatments may be recommended.

If you find you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, visit your doctor to see if you need a different medicine.

Living with Asthma

While asthma is a chronic condition, it doesn’t have to control your life. By working closely with your doctor at River Bend Medical Associates, you can learn to manage your asthma effectively to live a full and active life. Here are some tips:

If you experience an asthma attack, follow these steps to manage the situation effectively:

  1. Avoid Triggers: If you know the trigger (e.g., allergens, smoke) that caused the attack, remove yourself from that environment immediately.
  2. Stay Calm: Take slow, deep breaths and try to remain calm.
  3. Sit Upright: Sitting in an upright position can help improve airflow. Avoid lying down, as it may make breathing more difficult.
  4. Use Your Rescue Inhaler: If you have a prescribed quick-relief inhaler (such as albuterol), use it immediately. Follow the correct technique for inhaler use.
  5. Loosen Tight Clothing: Remove any tight clothing around your chest to allow for easier breathing.
  6. Call for Help: If symptoms persist or worsen, call emergency services (911) or seek immediate medical attention. Inform them that you are having an asthma attack.
  7. Continue Using Your Inhaler: Repeat inhaler use as directed by your healthcare provider. Wait between doses.
  8. Stay with Someone: If possible, have someone stay with you during the attack. They can monitor and call for help if needed.
  9. Follow Your Asthma Action Plan: Refer to your personalized asthma action plan for specific instructions. If you don’t have one, discuss creating one with your doctor.
  • Develop an asthma action plan with your doctor. Your plan will outline steps you should take to control your symptoms and manage asthma attacks.
  • Avoid asthma triggers. Common triggers include allergens like dust mites, mold, pollen, and pet dander, as well as irritants like smoke and air pollution.
  • Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor. Even if you’re feeling well, it’s important to continue taking your controller medications to prevent future symptoms.
  • Monitor your symptoms. Regularly tracking your asthma can help you and your doctor identify any changes in your condition and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Asthma is a common and manageable condition. By working with your doctor at River Bend Medical Associates and following a personalized treatment plan, you or your child can breathe easier. If you have any questions or concerns about asthma, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your doctor.