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Effectively controlling asthma requires planning, skill and patience.
Clinical data states that the involvement of specialists in asthma improves patient outcome and lowers costs. You do not have to suffer!

What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the lining of the airways become inflamed and swollen and muscle spasms restrict the flow of air to the lungs. It is a relatively common condition and the incidence of the disease has grown in recent years. Currently, it is estimated that 12 million Americans – including more than four million children – have asthma.
Who develops asthma?
Asthma can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic factors. While it is true that asthma develops more commonly in children, they can occur for the first time at any age or, in some cases, recur after many years of remission. Although the exact genetic factors are not yet understood, and asthma can run in families. Factors such as hormones, stress, smoke, perfume or other environmental irritants may also play a role.
What are common asthma symptoms?
If you experience difficulty breathing, a tight feeling in the chest, coughing, and wheezing, you may suffer from asthma. Sometimes a chronic cough is the only symptom, and many of these cases go undiagnosed. The symptoms of asthma are most frequently noted at night and in the morning, but an asthma episode can happen at any time. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening attacks which require immediate emergency treatment.
What causes asthma?
Although the exact cause of asthma is still being studied, it is known to be a combination of inflammation of the lung combined with narrowing of the lung passages activated by the body’s immune system. There are a number of factors that are known to trigger an asthma episode including: pollen, dust, mold, feathers, animal dander, and some foods can trigger an asthma attack in some individuals.

  • Viral Infection
  • Simple colds can cause severe asthma exacerbation.
  • Exercise
  • Some people can experience asthma symptoms during or after exercise.
  • Emotional Stress
  • Weather Conditions
  • Cold, windy weather or sudden changes in the weather can trigger asthma reactions.
  • Other Environmental Exposures
  • Smoke from cigarettes, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, or forest fires
  • Chemical fumes in the home or workplace
  • Perfumes or other strong smells
What can I expect from treatment?
First, our asthma specialist will determine the severity of your asthma through breathing tests (spirometry or “PFT”), and will possibly recommend allergy testing to see if allergens are causing your asthma to become worse. All of our testing and treatment is based on scientifically proven research. After testing, the doctor will work with you to develop a plan tailored to your individual symptoms.

The doctor may prescribe medications to keep your asthma under control or alleviate acute symptoms. We will have you attend an asthma education session with our certified asthma educator. This will allow you to become more informed and involved in your own treatment. This essential part of our evaluation has definitively reduced urgent medical center and emergency room visits for our patients. Our goal is to prevent asthma attacks before they start.With proper diagnosis and treatment by an asthma specialist, most people with asthma can pursue normal vigorous lifestyles and expect to:

  • Sleep through the night without disruptive coughing episodes, and awaken with a clear chest.
  • Avoid acute asthma “attacks” and eliminate the need for emergency room visits or hospitalization.
  • Prevent missed days from work or school.
  • Lead a full life with normal physical activity.
What is an allergist?
An allergist is a doctor who is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases and conditions such as:

  • Asthma and chronic cough
  • Hay fever
  • Sinus infections
  • Eye allergies
  • Reactions to food, insect stings, and drugs
  • Skin allergies, including eczema, hives and swelling
  • Immune system problems
  • Frequent infections

After earning a medical degree, the physician must complete a three-year residency training program in either internal medicine or pediatrics. The physician then completes an additional two or three years of fellowship study in the field of asthma, allergy and immunology. To become a Board Certified Allergist, the doctor must then pass a written examination given by the American Board of Allergy & Immunology (ABAI). The ABAI is the only certification board in allergy that is approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the overriding board that sets out training standards required to be board certified in almost all medical specialties.

When should I see an allergist?
Some useful guidelines include:

  • Your allergies are causing secondary symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.
  • You experience hay fever or other allergy symptoms several months out of the year.
  • Antihistamines and other over-the-counter medications do not control your allergy symptoms, or create unacceptable side effects, such as drowsiness.
  • Your asthma or allergies are interfering with your ability to carry on day-to-day activities.
  • Your asthma or allergies decrease the quality of your life.

You should also contact us if you are experiencing warning signs of asthma such as:

  • You occasionally have to struggle to catch your breath.
  • You often wheeze or cough, especially at night or after exercise.
  • You are frequently short of breath or feel tightness in your chest.
  • You have previously been diagnosed with asthma but, despite treatment, you still have frequent acute asthma attacks.
What can I expect during my visit?
Evaluation: Our allergist will first review your symptoms, how often they occur, and what triggers them. The evaluation will include:

  • Medical history
  • You will be asked about your health, your living environment and whether members of your family have asthma or allergies such as hay fever, hives, or skin rashes like eczema.
  • Physical exam
  • Allergy tests and breathing tests.

The allergist usually performs specific allergy skin tests to find out what triggers your symptoms. The allergist may test for allergic reactions to plant pollens, molds, animal dander, dust mites, stinging insect venoms, foods, or drugs. You may have skin testing in our office, or we may send you to an outside laboratory for blood tests, depending on what type of allergic reaction(s) you have had in the past. The allergist also may perform a test to measure how your lungs are working. The quick and easy breathing test is called spirometry. It measures how much air you can blow out of your lungs after taking a deep breath.

Prevention Education: The best way to treat allergies or asthma is to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. When it is not possible to completely avoid allergens, an allergist can provide tips on how to decrease your exposure.

Treatment: Once we know what specific allergens are causing your symptoms, we will develop a plan tailored to your individual needs. Although avoiding the things that trigger your symptoms is one of the most effective strategies, there are a variety of treatments for both allergies and asthma. Medicines that target allergies or asthma may be the most effective treatment for you, or the allergist may recommend allergy shots (immunotherapy). This treatment involves periodic injections with tiny amounts of an allergen. Immunotherapy may nearly cure your allergy. Your reactions will become milder or can disappear entirely.

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