Asthma is a condition caused by constrictions or narrowing of lung airways and bronchial air passages. Excess mucus is produced, which acts to clog airways and, together with the constrictions, make breathing difficult. Asthma affects individuals of all ages, from children under the age of five to individuals throughout adulthood. Also, the disease can range in severity from mild – causing only an occasional nuisance – to severe cases, with life-threatening conditions and attacks.
To make a complete diagnosis of asthma requires examination and tests by a physician. Nevertheless, it is essential to watch for suspicious symptoms that might alert you to some developing underlying condition. If you or your family experience any of the following, it’s a good idea to visit with your physician to receive an asthma evaluation and diagnosis. Symptoms may get worse over time, so visiting with a physician as soon as possible is advisable.
Watch for the following, especially in young children.
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Coughing or wheezing – (this is a slight whistling or high-pitched piping sound especially when exhaling) which can be aggravated by exercise or flu symptoms
• Chest pain or tightness
• Difficulty sleeping due to coughing and wheezing
If you or a member of your family is suffering from any of these symptoms, you should visit your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit one of Emergency Hospital Systems four ER’s, conveniently located in your communities. We are open 24/7/365, and our staff is available to answer your questions and evaluate your condition. We welcome walk-ins, or you can call for an appointment. There’s plenty of close-in free parking. We are pleased to serve as your primary source of medical care should you not already have a primary care physician.
Because asthma can worsen over time and with age, anyone with asthma or who suspects they may have asthma should monitor their symptoms carefully. It should be noted that an asthma attack can end a person’s life, so all asthma symptoms should be taken seriously. As soon as a person suspects an asthma attack is underway, he/she should go immediately to an emergency room.
There are several asthmas types caused by a variety of ‘triggers.’ The list below highlights some asthma variations, but may not include all asthma conditions. Only a physician can correctly evaluate and diagnose asthma types.
• Allergy Based Asthma
Allergens such as dust or pollen can trigger an asthma attack. Having an allergy does not mean a person will definitely have asthma, but for asthma sufferers, allergens may trigger symptoms.
• Adult-Onset Asthma
In some cases, asthma does not appear in an individual until they reach adulthood. Causes include newly acquired allergies, exposure to workplace fumes, or a bout of the flu.
• Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (EIB)
About 90% of all people living with asthma experience this type of asthma trigger. Also, non-asthmas sufferers, who are also athletes, may develop constricted airways. However, this condition does not lead to asthma.
• Occupational Asthma
Workplaces containing dust, chemical fumes, or other pollutants can trigger asthma symptoms. If you notice regular coughing and wheezing possibly connected to your workplace environment, it’s time to see the doctor.
• Non-Allergy Asthma
Not all asthmas are triggered by allergens. With some sufferers, changes in the weather, an illness, or stress can bring on an attack.
• Asthma-COPD Overlap
COPD is a group of lung diseases that cause breathing difficulties. These diseases do not cause asthma, but asthma can occur in individuals with COPD. This combination of conditions can be challenging to treat, so careful monitoring by a physician is essential.
If you have any of the above symptoms or feel you should be examined by a physician, feel free to visit one of the Emergency Hospital System’s four emergency rooms. We are conveniently located with offices in Deerbrook (2), Spring, and Humble. Our staff is on hand 24/7/365 to serve you, so feel free to call for an appointment or walk-in, 281-592-5400.