Asthma is a growing problem in both children and adults. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, (AAAAI), in 2001, 20 million Americans were affected by this health issue, and by 2009, the number grew to 25 million. An asthma attack can be a scary time, so if you're concerned and not sure what to do, always call a professional healthcare provider.
Asthma is a chronic, long-term lung disease that often starts in childhood. Inflammation causes airways to narrow, which leads to wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and coughing. During an asthma attack, the airways are severely restricted, and when it is combined with mucous secretions that add to the obstruction, breathing becomes even more difficult. Asthma attacks can be quite serious, sometimes even fatal.
One of the best ways to avoid an asthma attack is to avoid triggers. What causes an attack for one person may not for another, so it is important for patients to pay attention to their breathing, and keep track of things that might incite difficulty. Common triggers are allergens such as dust mites, tobacco smoke, pet dander, air pollution, mold, cockroach droppings, and smoke from fires. Exercise often leads to breathing problems, as does high humidity, cold temperatures, food allergies, or sensitivities to fragrances. People are also more susceptible to an attack during a stressful or emotional time when respiration rates are elevated.
According to the AAAAI, more than half of people diagnosed with asthma are not informed of these triggers, and therefore, do not know how to avoid them. For some patients, drastic measures must be made in order to control asthma, such as re-homing family pets, or moving to avoid weather or pollution triggers.
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled using a two-pronged approach. First, there are long-term medications that help prevent attacks and help asthma patients to breathe better on a daily basis. These medications, however, do not help in the midst of an attack. For that, there are quick-relief medications that help open up the airways and allow the person to breathe easier during a crisis. Medications come in an oral form that must be swallowed, as well as inhalers that should be breathed in.
Occasionally, an asthma patient might be having breathing difficulties, and their quick-relief medication either is unavailable or ineffective. Patients should never hesitate to call their doctor; those who don't have a primary physician should visit an urgent care center, or go to the emergency room if the situation is dire.
Asthma is a serious and sometimes scary condition that often results in children missing school and adults having to call off work. It also can be stressful, never knowing when an episode will present itself. Those who take care to keep their prescriptions filled, use them as directed, and avoid triggers can learn to live with it.
Urgent Clinics Medical Care offers chest x-rays, EKG's, breathing treatments and steroid treatment if needed for asthma and additional causes of shortness of breath. No appointment is necessary at any of our clinics which are open from 8 am to 9 pm daily and are conveniently located in Champions Forest, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. Our Pearland Clinic is open 8 am to midnight 7 days a week.