All you Need to Know
Asthma sufferers deserve access to the right treatment to improve their breathing and overall quality of life. It is not curable but it is a very controllable disease when properly diagnosed and managed. The expert team at Charter Health PC in Salem, Massachusetts, is uniquely qualified to help. We have extensive experience in diagnosing and managing patients who suffer from this disease. Call the office to get the caring asthma support you need now.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs in which the airways become inflamed leading to airway narrowing and increased mucus production. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 25 million Americans have asthma and in the adult, population asthma is almost twice as common in women (9.8%) than in men (5.4%).
An asthma attack is an episode in which the airways become acutely narrowed leading to difficulty breathing, coughing, or wheezing. These attacks are caused by exposure to something the airways are sensitive to such as a viral infection, mold, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, smoke, other air pollutants, cold air, and exercise.
Socioeconomic disparities can result in higher rates of asthma in certain communities. Poor asthma control is more common in those living in poverty, crowded housing situations, and poor access to medical care.
It is not curable but is very controllable. If you need care or think you may have asthma, please call our office to schedule an appointment, 978-354-4611.
How is Asthma diagnosed?
Asthma is diagnosed by taking an in-depth patient history, performing a physical exam, and ordering breathing tests to measure lung function. A patient’s lung function can be measured by using peak flow meters or spirometry. A peak flow meter is a simple device that measures how forcefully a person can exhale a full breath of air.
Spirometry is a more advanced study that measures how much air a person can exhale in 1 second and in total. After measuring a person’s baseline lung function, spirometry is often repeated after the patient inhales albuterol, a medication that relaxes and opens the airways. When a patient’s lung function improves with albuterol it is suggestive of underlying asthma.
What is the treatment for Asthma?
Asthma treatment generally falls into two categories: rescue treatments and long-term controller treatments.
Quick-acting bronchodilators, also known as rescue inhalers, are the most common rescue treatments. The most common one is albuterol. You use these rescue inhalers when you are experiencing symptoms or, for those with exercise-induced asthma, before exercising. Rescue inhalers take effect immediately, opening your lung passages within seconds to help you breathe.
Treatments generally falls into two categories: rescue treatments and long-term controller treatments.
Long-Term Asthma Control
Long-term asthma control treatments reduce inflammation in the airways to keep them clear and open. These treatments inhalers and oral medications. If you take long-term control medication consistently every day, the frequency of your symptoms should go down significantly.
Asthma sufferers with persistent symptoms should be on both rescue and long-term control medications. Your Charter Health PC care providers have extensive experience in asthma education and management.
Call the office today to book an appointment, 978-354-4611.