Asthma is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions to affect Americans. If you or your child is having trouble breathing then it’s time to turn to an allergist who can diagnose asthma, determine its cause, and then create a long-term treatment plan.
The Types of Asthma
There are four main types of asthma:
- Allergic asthma
- Adult-onset asthma
- Asthma and COPD
- Exercise-induced asthma
- Nonallergic asthma
- Occupational asthma
Just as the name suggests, this type of asthma is triggered by allergens in the air such as pollen, dust, and pet dander. While not everyone with allergies has asthma and vice versa, it is possible for allergens to cause an asthma attack.
Sometimes asthma doesn’t actually appear until adulthood. Some people may not even realize they have it until they eventually come in contact with something that triggers their symptoms. Sometimes a simple viral infection can trigger symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing.
Asthma and COPD
Asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS) is when you have both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), both of which cause problems breathing. It is possible for ACOS to be dangerous, so it’s important to see an allergy specialist if you are experiencing symptoms of COPD or asthma. Smokers are at an increased risk for developing ACOS.
Do you notice that you wheeze, cough, or experience chest tightness when you exercise? If so, you aren’t alone. A lot of athletes (even elite athletes) have exercise-induced asthma. With this form of asthma you may notice symptoms flare-up at the beginning of your workout and last for up to 15 minutes.
If your asthma symptoms are not the result of allergies they could be due to medications, stress, sickness, or weather changes. This is known as nonallergic asthma.
If you experience asthma attacks occur most often at your job this is known as occupational asthma. This is usually more common in those who work around chemicals, fumes and other irritants.
If you are experiencing any of these common asthma symptoms then it’s time to see a physician:
- Chest tightness
- A persistent cough that may get worse at night
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
Treatment plans usually involve a combination of avoidance techniques and lifestyle changes, as well as fast-acting inhalers and long-term control medications. Allergy shots may also be recommended for those with allergic asthma.
If you are struggling to get your asthma under control then it’s time to talk with an allergist who can work with you to find the right medication and treatments to better manage your symptoms and to help you breathe easier. Put your trust in the hands of an asthma and allergy specialist today.