Asthma Treatment New York, NY
Asthma is a common condition that causes abnormal coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. This condition affects both children and adults, and it can interfere with one's daily activities. Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled and managed when taking the appropriate measures. Individuals with persisting symptoms should seek a medical professional for an accurate and formal diagnosis in which a primary care doctor can relay proper home care and prescribe medication.
Asthma diagnosis and treatment are available at Marina Gafanovich, MD and the surrounding area. Our primary care team can help you determine whether the symptoms you feel are asthma-related. Call us at (212) 548-3263 for an evaluation and treatment today.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition that results from a highly complex interaction between our immune system and the airways in our lungs. The immune system's cells create a reaction that changes the structure of the airways, resulting in a cough or wheeze. In addition, there are a variety of factors that can worsen asthma, including those passed down genetically, substances in the environment, and infections.
Asthma symptoms can surface at any age and range in severity, from mild to life-threatening. It is important to recognize asthmatic symptoms, take preventative measures, and employ temporary relief medications to prevent an asthma attack. This is often relayed to the patient by a primary care doctor when asthma is first diagnosed. Then, it is the primary care doctor who monitors the patient's symptoms and helps them to manage them.
“The immune system’s cells create a reaction that changes the structure of the airways, resulting in a cough or wheeze.”
Risk Factors of Asthma
There are a variety of environmental and genetic factors that can increase your risk of developing asthma. These include:
- Gender — In childhood, boys tend to acquire asthma more than girls; men and women age 20-40 acquire it equally; after 40, it becomes more common in females
- Early life events — Higher risk of acquiring asthma for those who had poor lung function as newborns
- Family history — If members of your family also had or have asthma, it can be passed down to you and increase your risk
- Allergies — If you have allergies, especially if they cause symptoms that affect your breathing, your risk for asthma increases
- Pollution — If you live or grew up in an area of high pollution, the likelihood of asthma increases
- Maternal medication use — If a mother used certain medications, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Aleve), during her pregnancy, this can increase the baby’s risk of asthma
“There are a variety of environmental and genetic factors that can increase your risk of developing asthma.”
Common Asthma Triggers
Some asthma triggers are outside a person's control. Allergies are among the most common triggers of asthma, as they cause many of the same symptoms and often result in coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Infections that block the lungs are also common triggers as they tighten the chest and narrow the airways.
Although good for the body, exercise causes cold and dry air to travel to the lungs, irritating the airways. Smoking causes damage to the lungs and thus irritates the airways, making them swollen, narrow, and filled with mucus. Stress can also trigger asthma as the body's response to stress causes the release of certain hormones, leading to inflammation within the lungs' airways. Any condition or disease that blocks or irritates the throat, airways, or lungs triggers and worsens asthmatic symptoms.
“Allergies are among the most common triggers of asthma, as they cause many of the same symptoms and often result in coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.”
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How a Physician Diagnoses Asthma
A physician generally requests the patient's medical history to determine whether they have asthmatic symptoms, along with any risk factors or triggers. They listen to the patient's lungs through a stethoscope, which will produce a wheezing sound in asthmatic patients. The physician also examines the throat and nose for signs associated with asthma.
They will then test how well the lungs are working, which is called pulmonary function testing. This series of tests can pinpoint whether your breathing symptoms are due to asthma or another condition, such as emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These conditions have similar symptoms to asthma but are commonly caused by smoking.
There are no laboratory blood tests available that can diagnose asthma, but if the asthma symptoms are severe, the physician may order blood tests and chest X-rays to ensure the patient does not have another infection or disease that might worsen asthma. The physician will evaluate the tests and diagnose the patient. If they are still unsure, the patient may be referred to an asthma specialist for further testing.
“They listen to the patient’s lungs through a stethoscope, which will produce a wheezing sound in asthmatic patients.”
Questions Answered on This Page
Q. What are the risk factors for developing asthma?
Q. What are common triggers of asthma?
Q. How does a physician diagnose asthma?
People Also Ask
Q. What respiratory issues does a primary care doctor treat?
Q. What is respiratory illness?
There are three main factors a physician considers when treating asthma. First, they will need to assess the severity of asthma and how it is affecting the patient. The physician will teach the patient how to test their lungs' functionality with a special tool and to keep track of it in a journal. They will also provide certain questions that should be reported in this journal a, such as:
- How many times does your asthma wake you up at night?
- How many times have you had to go to the emergency room for your asthma?
- Has your asthma been preventing you from doing your normal activities at school or work? If so, how?
Secondly, the physician will educate the patient on how to avoid certain triggers that worsen asthma. They can help find solutions when certain triggers might be unavoidable at work, school, or home. Lastly, they will prescribe medication. Since these medications can have side effects, the physician will prescribe the minimal amount until symptoms have improved. These medications include oral pills and inhalers. Sometimes the doctor may prescribe a CPAP, a machine with a hose and mask that delivers constant air pressure. This CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is usually worn at night while the patient sleeps. It is crucial that patients completely understand their role in monitoring and treating asthma, as it can take some time to see what works for them.
“The physician will teach the patient how to test their lungs’ functionality with a special tool and to keep track of it in a journal.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why has asthma seen a dramatic increase in recent years?
A. Asthma has been more correctly diagnosed than in the past. People spend more time indoors, and indoor air contains a number of asthma triggers, such as smoke, dust mites, and pet allergens. The increase could also be caused by outdoor air pollution, which has also spiked in recent years.
Q. Why is my asthma worse at night?
A. If you experience symptoms at night, your asthma is not being properly controlled. The circadian rhythm causes certain natural hormones (similar to those in certain asthma medications) to be at lower levels at night. These lower hormone levels slightly reduce the diameter of the airways. You could also be inhaling dust mite allergens from pillows, blankets, and mattresses while sleeping. When lying down, the distribution of gravity on your chest can put extra pressure on your lungs.
Q. What are the types of asthma?
A. Adult-onset asthma is a type of asthma that surfaces in adulthood and causes flare-ups from triggers they may have avoided in the past. Allergic asthma is a type closely related to certain allergies that can trigger asthmatic symptoms such as pollen, dust, and pet dander. Exercise-induced asthma results from wheezing or coughing during exercise or physical exertion, making it difficult for you to breathe. Occupational asthma is when you experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath at work, often from air quality.
Q. How can I prevent acquiring asthma or manage it if I do have it?
A. Understanding the type of asthma you have is important in knowing how to manage it. Many of the same methods can be used for prevention if you feel you have early signs of asthmatic symptoms. Keeping a humidifier in the house and room you sleep in can help circulate and filter the air you breathe. Taking the right medications and keeping an inhaler with you at all times can also help prevent an asthma attack.
Q. Is asthma a life-long condition?
A. In most cases, yes. While asthma is not curable, it can be controlled. Occasionally, people with asthma will enjoy long periods in which they do not experience symptoms. Often, children who have asthma find that their symptoms disappear during adolescence but return when they reach adulthood.
Start Feeling Better – Visit Us Today
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.
Definition of Medical Terminology
- Adult-Onset Asthma
- An asthma diagnosis that occurs after the age of 20. Asthma in adulthood is typically caused by infection, exercise, allergens, and air pollution (an irritant).
- A condition in which the airways are tightened, producing extra mucus and making it difficult to breathe. This causes asthmatic symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- Asthma-COPD Overlap
- A diagnosis that indicates an individual has both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms.
- A lung condition that occurs as a result of damaged air sacs in the lungs called alveoli. In its severe cases, emphysema can cause air sacs to rupture, making the air spaces larger.
- Nonallergic Asthma
- A type of asthma that occurs from non-allergenic factors, such as viral respiratory infections, exercise, or certain irritants in the air.
- A physician who specializes in treating respiratory tract diseases. A patient may be referred to a pulmonologist if they are experiencing asthmatic symptoms or difficulty breathing.
Start Feeling Better – Visit Us Today
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of holding off and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with stronger medication and treatment options instead of ineffective store-bought products. Call 212-548-3263 for more information or to make an appointment.
Helpful Related Links
- American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 2022
- American Journal of Medicine. American Journal of Medicine. 2022
- American Lung Association (ALA). American Lung Association (ALA). 2022
- American Medical Association (AMA). American Medical Association (AMA). 2022
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 2022
- National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health. 2022
- CDC Respiratory Health Resources. CDC Respiratory Health Resources. 2022
- Stanford Children’s Health. Stanford Children’s Health. 2022
- The AAP Parenting Website. The AAP Parenting Website. 2022
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