Asthma is a common respiratory condition that affects more than 25 million Americans. If you regularly cough, wheeze, or struggle to breathe following physical activity, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical help. At Kingwood Pulmonary, PA in Kingwood, Texas, expert pulmonologist, Akinyinka Ajelabi, MD, and the team regularly diagnose and treat asthma using safe and effective means. To make your appointment, call the office today.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a breathing disorder that causes your airways to narrow, swell, and produce excess mucus. Left unmanaged, asthma makes breathing more difficult and triggers symptoms such as wheezing and coughing.

The severity of asthma varies from person to person. For some people, the condition is a minor annoyance; for others, asthma interferes with daily activities, such as walking the dog or climbing a flight of stairs.

There’s no cure for asthma, but thanks to modern medications and treatment methods, it’s possible to manage.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma affects everyone differently. However, telltale signs to watch out for include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Chest tightness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

As asthma progresses, you might notice your symptoms get worse following light exercise or physical activity. You might also notice that your symptoms occur more frequently and become increasingly bothersome.

How is asthma diagnosed?

To diagnose asthma, your provider conducts a physical exam. During your physical, they work to rule out other possible conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or a respiratory infection. They also ask a series of questions about your symptoms and what triggers them.

If these methods don’t provide adequate insights, your provider might recommend a lung function test, such as spirometry or peak flow.

A spirometry test measures how much air you exhale after taking a deep breath and how fast you breathe out. A peak flow meter, on the other hand, measures how hard you breathe out.

Your provider usually performs lung function tests in coordination with prescription medications called bronchodilators. If your respiratory function improves with a bronchodilator, you probably have asthma.

How is asthma treated?

Treatment for asthma depends on the severity of your symptoms. However, the team recommends conservative, noninvasive methods of care whenever possible.

For example, they might recommend pinpointing your asthma triggers and taking steps to avoid them. Combined with prescription medications like an inhaler or corticosteroids, you can significantly lower your risk of an asthma attack.

If you have asthma that’s triggered by allergies, the team might also recommend allergy shots or an immune system-altering medication.

Developing an asthma treatment plan can significantly improve your quality of life. To make an appointment at Kingwood Pulmonary, PA, call the office today.