House Call: Signs, symptoms and treatment for Asthma

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Since seventy percent of asthmatics also have allergies, it is also important to address asthma this time of year, when cases of seasonal allergic rhinitis are on the rise.

Asthma is a condition that can make it hard for an individual to breathe, with most common symptoms including wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

Symptoms can occur each day, week or less often and can range from mild to severe.  Like many other diseases and health conditions, if detected early, the progression of asthma can be modified--especially in children.

Therefore, it is important to identify any risk factors or triggers of asthma.  Common triggers include allergies (such as pollen or pet dander), exercise and smoke exposure. Family history of asthma and/or history of chronic upper respiratory illnesses serve as risk factors for developing asthma.

The most effective way to treat and manage asthma is to quickly identify and modify triggers and properly use medications for the condition. Asthma medications are usually inhalers, liquids or pills and can work in one of two ways:

  1. Quick-relief medicines – Also known as rescue medications - Most often prescribed to those with mild asthma symptoms, these stop symptoms quickly and are used on an as-needed basis when exposed to a trigger.
  2. Long-term controller medicines – If an individual is experiencing frequent or more severe episodes, these medications are often prescribed to control the asthma and prevent future symptoms. Usually these medicines are taken on a daily basis.

Fortunately, Cone Health has a network of allergy/immunology specialists and related healthcare providers dedicated to treating asthma and its triggers, and improving the quality of life of those who suffer from the condition in the community.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Sokun Bhatti is a board-certified allergy and immunology specialist and member of the Cone Health Medical Staff.  Dr. Bhatti is a 1997 graduate of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA.  She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and her fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.