Asthma: Prevention and Rescue
Breathing is too important to leave to chance, take control of your asthma with the expert team at Red River ENT. From prevention to rescue, we are your source for asthma freedom.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that results in blocked or reduced airflow and prevents you from breathing easily. It is a common illness that negatively impacts you along with 25 million other Americans. Attacks can be frightening, dangerous, and even life threatening as it tightens the airways and blocks oxygen flow to the body.
This disease impacts people of all ages. Some see the first signs as a young child and others develop them at an older age. It can also be affected by environmental factors. These attacks can be triggered by allergies, a common cold, weather, dust, smoke, pet dander, or environmental pollutants. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Painful breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Interrupted sleep patterns due to coughing or wheezing
- Limited activity due to shortness of breath
- Symptoms increase with cold, flu, or other viruses
Unfortunately there is no cure for asthma, but with the proper asthmatic treatment plan you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your breathing is under control.
Diagnostic Testing: Understanding Your Unique Condition
Asthma diagnostics begin with a detailed medical exam that includes an evaluation of symptoms and medical history. Diagnostic testing is based on your symptoms and history and may include lung function testing, x-rays, allergy testing, and more.
Asthma is not a single condition, but can come in various types and be impacted by other factors such as allergies, environment, occupation, and medications.
Research has also shown that not all asthma types are the same. Although asthma symptoms may seem common, the specific types of symptoms and sources of inflammation are unique from person to person. What may commonly be called asthma may be categorized into a number of different subgroups (phenotypes) depending on your specific circumstances. The most common subgroups are early-onset (before age 12) and late-onset (after age 12) as well as allergic and non-allergic. For those types that are not caused by allergies, there are a number of subgroups that can explain the onset and the triggers.
Research has discovered that in addition to subgroups, asthma inflammation is also unique to each individual. Eosinophils and Neutrophils both cause inflammation in the airways, but they respond in unique ways to treatment.
As clinical data continues to give us a more accurate picture of the causes and outcomes, It is more important than ever to be diagnosed by a professional that understands all aspects of diagnosis and treatment. Don’t assume that all asthma types are the same and don’t settle for treatment that is not unique to your specific condition.
Treatment: Prevention and Preparation
Treating asthma begins by understanding exactly what type of asthma you have and identifying the triggers that cause your specific attacks. Identifying the specific triggers can help you plan to avoid or mitigate the onset. Relief of asthma symptoms begins with proper diagnosis by a professional that can understand the full scope of your condition. The best treatment involves planning for prevention while being prepared for rescue.
The most effective asthma treatments are the ones that fully understand your triggers. These triggers are often caused by allergens and in many cases they can be avoided. When you are able to prevent contact with an allergen, you stop the chain reaction that results in an attack. The best rescue is to prevent the respiratory distress before it happens. Treatment plans that focus on prevention can help you live day-by-day without fear.
In addition to avoidance, there are long-term control medications that will mitigate your specific triggers and moderate the symptoms. In order for these to be effective, it is important to know the unique causes of your asthma symptoms.
Triggers cannot always be avoided, therefore putting together an asthma rescue plan is critical for your long-term health and peace of mind. When you experience inflammation that causes your breathing to be restricted, time is of the essence. Quick-relief medications can help to reduce inflammation fast during an attack. As the muscles around the throat are relaxed, the airways can open and restore the flow of oxygen. These medications are not designed for regular use, but are essential in an effective asthma action plan.
- Short-acting beta agonists (SABA’s) work quickly to relax the smooth muscles that surround your airway passages. If you are looking for quick relief, these are often your first choice.
- Anticholinergics are medications that do not work as quickly as SABA’s; however, they do relax the muscles around the airways. In addition, they can reduce the production of mucous which helps with congestion.
- Combination medications combine the benefits of anticholinergics and the fast acting response of SABA’s.
- Epinephrine for allergy related emergencies. Epinephrine is a quick acting medication that treats a life-threating allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Medications and behavior changes are highly effective in preventing the onset of an attack and treating the symptoms when breathing is obstructed. It is important to have an action plan to prevent your next asthma attack and a rescue plan to help you when you need it most.
Asthma and Allergies
The majority of asthma patients also have allergies that can trigger an attack or compound the symptoms. These can range from common allergies like dust or pollen to life-threatening food and insect allergies. Some of the most effective asthma remedies may involve diagnosing and treating an underlying allergy issue. Our team of Louisiana allergy specialists can help to identify your allergy issues and help you avoid asthma triggers.
Take Action: Get Started Today
Your life is in your breath, take control with a custom asthma action plan from the team of professionals at Red River ENT. Our team of expert physicians and clinicians are committed to providing the highest quality care. All of our physicians are board-certified in ear, nose, and throat medicine (ENT) and will apply the highest levels of education and training to your individual situation.
Our reputation for excellence extends from Alexandria to the greater Rapides Parish and throughout central Louisiana.
Contact Red River ENT Associates today and feel confident that you will receive the most professional, compassionate, and individualized care. It’s time to take control of your asthma and breathe easy