What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects our airway and its ability to carry air to and from the lungs. Asthma is a chronic condition (meaning it is long-lasting and can recur over a prolonged period of time) that can be mild and only occurs with exercise or it may be associated with the allergy season. It may be a debilitating disease that requires daily medications, the use of inhalers, or even lead to a struggle to breathe on a regular basis.
People who suffer from asthma have inflammation commonly brought on by irritation of the airway by temperature changes, exercise, or an allergy that affects the inside walls of the airways causing them to swell. There is an intermittent obstruction of the airflow brought on by the release of various chemicals that mediate inflammation into the airway. In the lungs, the tubes that bring air in split again and again like branches of a tree. The smallest of these branches, the bronchioles become hypersensitive which can lead to an obstruction.
As inflammation causes the airways to become narrower, less air can pass through them, either to or from the lungs. This narrowing can result in wheezing (a loud whistling sound while breathing out), tightness of the chest, shortness of breath, and a recurrent cough. These symptoms are most commonly experienced during the night and the early morning but may also be brought on by physical exertion like running or a walk in the park when the pollen count is high in the air when associated with allergies.
Can Asthma be cured?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Asthma. However, medications exist to both control symptoms, reduce inflammation and manage the symptoms of asthma that can help you to live a normal and active life.
What is an Asthma Attack?
An asthma attack is a sudden exacerbation in the symptoms, especially shortness of breath and wheezing that is worse than usual. During the attack, the muscles around the small branches of the airway, also called the bronchioles contract causing the airway to narrow, preventing the good flow of air through the lungs. As the inflammation worsens, more narrowing occurs and mucous that is produced by the inflammatory response can further block the airway. If an attack goes untreated, it may be fatal and patients may need to be admitted to the hospital for urgent treatment.
Initially, an asthma attack prevents air from getting into the lungs and carbon dioxide from leaving the lungs. As the levels of Carbon dioxide rise in the lungs, they lower the amount of oxygen getting into the bloodstream which can lead to cell death.
When you should come and see us?
Asthma is frequently associated with allergies and sinus disease. If you are seeing an allergist or a pulmonologist for exacerbation of your symptoms, it is important that you come to see us at Dagan MD. We will help to diagnose nose and sinus issues that frequently exacerbate asthma symptoms. Control of the allergy and/or nose and sinus disease will very frequently put a stop to the asthma symptoms.
With experience, you will learn to keep away from things that irritate your airways, know when to take medication for asthma or for allergies to reduce the probability of asthma attacks, and improve your quality of life and ability to participate in normal daily activities.
At Dagan MD NYC we diagnose allergies and treat them. We manage nose and sinus disease that help to indirectly curb asthma symptoms.