Asthma starts when the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs become swollen, which makes them sensitive and highly reactive to stress. As a result, when you make the lungs work harder during exercise, breathe in dust, or do anything else affecting the airways, they have an intense overreaction.
This hyper-reaction constricts muscles, narrows the tubes, and makes it hard to breathe. As the tubes narrow, they also produce extra mucus, which adds to the problem by blocking airways.
Asthma usually begins during childhood, although it can develop at any age. The frequency of asthma flare-ups and the severity of symptoms differs in each person. The typical symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Chronic coughing
- Trouble sleeping
Your doctor at Boerne Family Medicine works closely with you to create an asthma action plan, which helps you identify how to avoid triggers, prevent future flare-ups, and the steps to take when an asthma attack occurs.
Your treatment plan may include:
Identifying and avoiding triggers
Allergens or something in the environment, such as dust, smoke, or cold air, can trigger asthma flare-ups. After you identify your triggers, you and your doctor develop a plan to avoid those triggers as much as possible.
Allergies and asthma often coexist. When you have both, the same things causing your allergies often trigger asthma attacks. Immunotherapy to alleviate allergies also helps decrease asthma symptoms.
There are two types of medications available to treat asthma. A rescue inhaler provides rapid relief during a flare-up, so you only use it during an attack. Long-acting inhalers help you achieve long-term control.
Please don’t wait to seek treatment when you have a breathing problem. If you have asthma, early treatment is especially important. It ensures you’re ready for flare-ups with a rescue inhaler, and it prevents future asthma attacks.
If you have or suspect you have asthma, call Boerne Family Medicine or schedule an appointment online.