HT Family Physicians
Family Medicine located in Stockton, CA & Lodi, CA
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes the airways in your lungs to swell, making it difficult to breathe. This common illness, which affects approximately 20 million Americans, tends to be more serious for children than it is for adults because their airways are smaller and more affected by swelling. With two convenient locations in Stockton and Lodi, California, the top-notch team at HT Family Physicians provide comprehensive care for asthma patients. If you’re in the San Joaquin area and you’d like to find out more, call or book your appointment online today.
Asthma Q & A
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic illness that affects the airways of the lungs, causing them to swell and become sore.
Normally when you inhale, air enters through your nose or mouth, travels down your windpipe, and enters the airways of your lungs. Exhaled air travels the same path, but in the opposite direction.
When you have asthma, air has a smaller pathway to travel because the disease causes your airways to swell and fill with mucus. The muscles around your airways also tighten, making the airways even narrower.
Common asthma symptoms include:
- Recurrent cough
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
No one knows exactly why some people develop asthma, and others don’t, but researchers believe that it may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
What causes an asthma attack?
When something irritates your airway and triggers a flare-up, otherwise known as an asthma attack, symptoms can worsen quickly. Some of the most common asthma triggers include:
- Allergens, including mold, pollen, and animal dander
- Cigarette smoke, air pollution, and other airborne irritants
- Cold air or sudden changes in weather
- Exercise or intense physical exertion
- Infections that affect the airway, including the flu and the common cold
How is asthma diagnosed?
The team at HT Family Physicians uses spirometry testing to help diagnose asthma in patients who show common signs and symptoms of a chronic lung condition. This routine office test measures how much air you inhale and exhale, as well as how quickly you exhale.
In addition to helping provide a concrete diagnosis, your doctor at HT Family Physicians may use spirometry testing to monitor your condition and find out how well a prescribed treatment is working.
How is asthma managed?
The first step in effective asthma management is knowing what triggers an asthma attack. For most people, allergens and the common cold are the two most common triggers. If you have allergies, avoiding the allergens that trigger a reaction can greatly improve your asthma.
The second step in controlling asthma and preventing attacks is developing an asthma management plan. That’s where the team at HT Family Physicians can help.
A detailed asthma management plan outlines what medications you should take, and when you might need to increase the dosage. Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: Quick-relief medicines that stop asthma attacks, and long-term control medicines to prevent flare-ups.
The plan also teaches you how to spot early symptoms for quick treatment, and includes advice about when you should call your doctor.