Asthma and Cough
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is chronic inflammation of the lower airways known as the bronchioles. It is often reversible but if left untreated for extended periods can become irreversible.
There are often several triggers which can lead to acute symptoms of wheezing, cough, chest tightness, chest fullness or shortness of breath. Triggers can be related to airborne or environmental allergies such as animal dander, pollen, dust or mold. Other triggers may include viruses, weather change or pollutants in the air.
Asthma can sometimes be diagnosed with a breathing test or spirometry in the office. However often it can be difficult so some may have different forms such as allergic asthma, exercise induced asthma, or cough variant asthma.
Securing a diagnosis relies on:
- A detailed history and physical examination.
- An in-office breathing test known as a spirometry which can aid with the diagnosis.
- Additionally, allergy skin testing can help identify asthma triggers.
Asthma treatment relies on first controlling the acute symptoms and also identifying and treating potentially triggers. There are 2 types of inhalers you may be prescribed.
- Rescue or quick-relief medicines stop asthma symptoms when they occur.
- Maintenance or daily inhalers help to directly treat the inflammation in the lungs.
- If allergy triggers are identified on skin testing then treating these with medications or shots.