Wheezing, coughing, tightness in your chest—these are the familiar symptoms of an asthma flare-up. Here at Myles Health Care in St. Louis, MO, Dr. Otha Myles and his team manage asthma so that patients can have a better quality of life. Read on to learn more about what asthma and what you can do to feel better.
What is asthma?
If you have asthma, you're not alone. More than 25 millions Americans of all ages and walks of life suffer from this chronic pulmonary condition, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
People with asthma have what's called a "reactive airway." In other words, their windpipes and lungs experience adverse reactions to environmental triggers, thus causing the airway to become inflamed, tight, and mucous-filled. The resulting symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing, particularly at night
- Increased respiratory rate
- A feeling of chest tightness
While mild asthma attacks may subside by themselves, many escalate and become life-threatening. Accordingly, close at-home and in-office monitoring of your asthma by your doctor at Myles Health Care in St. Louis is critical to your overall health and function.
These precipitating factors vary from person-to-person. They may include:
- Animal dander
- Pollution, such as car exhaust
- Changes in weather
- The flu or a cold
- Tobacco smoke
- Dust mites
Dr. Myles diagnoses asthma by symptoms, lung function tests, chest auscultation (listening to breath sounds), chest X-rays, and other tests as needed.
With this information, the doctor and patient can formulate an asthma action plan to avoid flare-ups and to manage them properly if they do occur. Along with the patient, family members, teachers, caregivers, and significant others should all understand the content of this plan, says the American Lung Association.
A critical component of asthma treatment is the avoidance of known triggers. Accordingly, it's helpful to note what you were doing and where you were when you started experiencing symptoms.
Additionally, Dr. Myles likely will prescribe medications to stop an asthma attack when it begins. These may be inhaled or be oral bronchodilators.
For the management of your asthma symptoms, you may use inhaled medication that combines a bronchodilator and steroid in mist or powdered form. Oral medications such as leukotriene inhibitors keep the smooth muscles of the airway relaxed, open, and functional. Your medications will be fine-tuned to your specific diagnosis, health history, and lifestyle.
Do you have asthma?
If you do, take it seriously, and know that the professional team here at Myles Health Care will help you deal with it and live well. For more information on asthma and other chronic health conditions, call our St. Louis office at (314) 833-4001.