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Sunset in Mountain
Gadlage Allergy Robert A. Gadlage, MD FACS & Associates P.C.

Asthma is a type of Chronic disease that starts in the airways and makes a person’s breathing difficult. Asthma can cause inflammation of one’s air passages, this causes narrowing of the airway that carries oxygen to the lungs.

Asthma can be a serious and even dangerous disease that affects up to 26 million Americans.

There are three major factors of asthma:

  1. Airway Obstruction – When your breath normally there are banks of muscle in your airways that are relaxedand allows the air to move freely. However, people with asthma and other colds or diseases, cause the bands to tighten, less air is then flowing causing a person to feel shortness of breath and cause wheezing.

  2. Inflammation – People with asthma can have swollen/red bronchial tubes. Inflammation can cause long-term damage to your lungs. The best way to make sure that no damage is caused, you should see a doctor and get the proper treatment for your Asthma.

  3. Airway Irritability – Airways due to asthma causes them to be highly sensitive.

Due to the sensitive airways caused by asthma different things within the environment can trigger asthma to worsen. Some of these triggers include:

  • Infections – Sinusitis, colds, and the flu.

  • Allergens in the air – pollens, mold, spores, pet dander and dust mites.

  • Irritants – Strong odors, Perfumes, clean solutions, air pollution.

  • Tobacco Smoke

  • Exercise

  • Weather – temperature, humidity, or chilly air

  • Strong Emotions – anxiety, laughter, crying, or stress

  • Medications – Ex. Aspirin allergies.

What are the Early Symptoms of an Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack is a condition where the band of muscle in your airways is triggered to tighten. This tightening is called bronchospasm. During an asthma attack, your airway will become swollen or inflamed and your airway will produce thinker than normal mucus, closing your airway even more.  Each of these factors – bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production, cause difficulty breathing,  wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath. Other symptoms of an asthma attack include the following:

  • Severe wheezing when breathing

  • Coughing that won’t stop

  • Very rapid breathing

  • Chest pain/ pressure

  • Tightened neck and chest muscles

  • Difficulty talking

  • Feelings of anxiety/panic

  • Pale, sweaty face

  • Blue lips or fingernails

Risk Factors for Increasing the Chances of Developing Asthma:

There are several factors that can increase your chance of developing asthma, some of these risk factors include:

  • Inheritance – Blood related relatives who also have asthma. 

  • Having an allergic condition – Atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)

  • Overweight

  • Smoker

  • Exposure to second-hand smoke

  • Exposure to fumes or other pollution, chemicals and more.

What Can Trigger Asthma?

There are many types of asthma, and treatment depends on which of the main 6 types of asthma you may have. Your doctor will perform tests to find out what treatment for your type of asthma is best for you.

The distinct types of asthma include:

  1. Allergic Asthma – This type of asthma happens when an allergy sets off an asthma flare-up

  2. Asthma without Allergies – Some people experience asthma that is triggered by an upper respiratory infection like a cold or flu. This type of asthma occurs over a brief period of about 10-14 days.

  3. Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD) – This is a type of asthma that is triggered when someone takes aspirin.

  4. Exercise-Induced Asthma – This is when physical activity or exercise causes coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness.

  5. Cough Variant – is asthma that is characterized by a dry hacking cough.

  6. Occupational Asthma – When a person with asthma works in a position where they work with items that trigger their asthma.

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