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Meritas Health Pulmonary Medicine is your partner in asthma care. Find your doctor today, and schedule an appointment.
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Breathe easier with comprehensive asthma care and treatment from the pulmonologists at Meritas Health Pulmonary Medicine. Understanding asthma and how to manage it can be complex, but with help from our physicians, you’ll find ways to enjoy your daily activities.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition that causes spasms in the lungs, making breathing difficult. While asthma can be an allergic reaction, it also can be induced by exercise, work substances and environmental particles such as dust, pollen or mold.
Asthma is a common reality for nearly 8% of Americans. Though asthma can’t be cured, patients with asthma can manage its symptoms and live comfortable lives.
Asthma has very noticeable symptoms, including:
- Chest tightness
- Cough – Dry, chronic, with phlegm, mild or severe
- Difficulty breathing – Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, wheezing
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Increased heart rate
- Throat irritation
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath or wheezing
At your first appointment, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and your symptoms. You’ll undergo a physical exam and standard diagnostic tests, including a lung function test, which will verify how well your lungs circulate air. Your doctor also may recommend allergy tests to rule out any allergic reactions.
In some cases, a chest X-ray or EKG may be recommended to help identify any foreign particles or other disease that might be causing your symptoms.
Treatment and Care
Asthma, while not curable, can be managed with medications, such as:
- Allergy shots – Allergy shots help reduce immune system reactions to allergens, which can trigger asthma attacks.
- Inhaled medications and combination inhalers – Anti-inflammatories relax the lung muscles and help improve airflow and breathing.
- Oral medications – Some asthma medicines can help relieve symptoms for up to 24 hours.
- Quick-relief inhaler – Albuterol is a common quick-relief inhaler that relaxes the lung muscles to improve airflow and breathing.
Your Meritas Health pulmonologist also may recommend bronchial thermoplasty, a minimally invasive treatment that can provide long-term asthma control and reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
You and your doctor will build a personalized care plan together to address your asthma symptoms. Regular checkups will ensure your plan is effective.
You can improve your health and reduce symptoms with healthy living:
- Decontaminate your indoor space by preventing mold, dust, pet dander or other particles that trigger attacks.
- Get regular exercise to strengthen your heart and lungs.
- Maintain a healthy weight to lower your risk of severe symptoms.