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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a serious medical condition that causes inflammation (swelling) in the airways that result in excess mucus production and narrowing of the lung’s air passageways making it difficult to breathe. This narrowing can cause one’s breathing to sound unusual. The noise the lungs make is called wheezing, a musical high pitched sound.

What happens during an asthma attack

In many people, asthma is often triggered by environmental factors like:

  • Viral Illness
  • Allergens like pollen, mites, mold and animal dander
  • Cold exposure
  • Exercise
  • Drugs
  • Stress

How is Asthma Diagnosed?

Its diagnosed clinically, meaning the doctors speaks with you and asks questions. Then they will examine you and combine this information into a preliminary diagnosis. Often a spirometry device will be used to measure your lung capacity. Certain patterns seen on the report can confirm the diagnosis of asthma when combined with other important clinical data.

Office-Based Spirometry: Key to Diagnosing Rural COPD Patients - The Rural  Monitor

How is Asthma Treated?

Many people are effectively treated with inhalers; a beta agonist inhaler (Albuterol) and some individuals also need a steroid inhaler (anti-inflammatory). Its also important to identify your triggers and avoid them if at all possible. Sometimes a doctor will add an oral steroid medication to your prescription for loner acting anti-inflammatory action.

When should I go to Urgent Care?

If you are severely short of breath, turning blue, cant speak in full sentences, or breathing at a rapid rate ( greater than 20 breaths per minute) call 911 and go to the emergency room. If you are mildly to moderately short of breath but able to speak in full sentences and are breathing at less the 20 breaths per minute, urgent care may be appropriate for your condition. There the medical providers will place you on oxygen, if needed, administer nebulized medication, possibly take a chest x-ray and or give you steroids by injection or mouth.

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