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Do You Suffer With These 5 Common Asthma Symptoms?

Bronchial asthma is a disease of the lungs in which airways become narrowed and swollen and blocked by excess mucus. The condition affects more than 25 million people in the United States, including more than 5 million children. In fact, it’s most commonly diagnosed in childhood, although there’s an adult-onset variety.

Dr. Ranjit Grewal at Houston Family MD sees many patients with asthma at his Houston, Texas, office. Knowing the symptoms of asthma can help you know when it’s time to come into the office for an evaluation. Since asthma is a chronic condition, the practice offers a number of different treatments to manage the symptoms and prevent acute attacks. 

Asthma causes

Anyone can develop asthma, no matter their age, though researchers aren’t sure why some people develop the condition while others don’t. However, certain factors present a higher risk:

In addition, women are more likely to develop asthma than men, though the reasons for this aren’t clear.

What is an asthma attack?

With normal breathing, the muscles around your airways relax, allowing air to move easily and quietly. During an asthma attack, though, three things can happen to impede normal breathing:

  1. Bronchospasm: the muscles around the airways constrict, narrowing the airway so air can’t flow freely
  2. Inflammation: the tissues lining your airways swell, restricting the amount of air in your lungs
  3. Mucus production: your body creates more and thicker mucus, clogging your airways

When your airways constrict, you start to wheeze, making an uncomfortable noise as you breathe in and out. Wheezing is one of the hallmarks of an asthma flare-up, a period during which your symptoms aren’t controlled.

5 common symptoms of an asthma attack

Some of the most common symptoms associated with an asthma attack include:

  1. Chest pain or tightness
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Difficulty breathing
  4. Coughing or wheezing
  5. Trouble sleeping

These symptoms may become worse with exercise, a cold or the flu, allergies, or when you’re in cold, dry weather.

Treating asthma

If you’re diagnosed with asthma, Dr. Grewal works with you to develop an asthma action plan. This indicates how and when to use your prescribed medicines. It also lets you know when to seek emergency care.

Depending on the nature and severity of your symptoms, Dr. Grewal and the Houston Family MD team might recommend one or more of the following treatments:

Management and counseling

It’s important to track your breathing to determine what brings on an attack. It’s also important to stop asthma attacks before serious problems arise. The team teaches you how to better recognize what triggers your attacks and what steps you should take to avoid them.

Inhalers

Inhalers are a form of rescue treatment, to be taken when you’re having an attack. They often contain a steroid that reduces inflammation in the airways. You might use one to prevent a severe attack during exercise, when your allergies flare up, or when a cold or the flu restricts your breathing.

Allergy treatments

If allergies exacerbate asthma-related breathing problems, Dr. Grewal might suggest taking oral allergy medications or receiving ongoing allergy shots to reduce the potential for an attack. 

Trigger avoidance

Avoiding your triggers is the best way to prevent an acute attack, but the specifics depend on the nature and severity of your symptoms. Some general things you may try include vacuuming regularly, using an air conditioner, eliminating pet dander, and removing mold from the kitchen or bathroom.

If you’re having symptoms of asthma, the best thing you can do is to come into Houston Family MD for an evaluation with Dr. Grewal and treatment. Call the office at 281-477-0525 or book online with us today.

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