What Causes Asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory condition that makes it hard for an individual to breath. The bronchi of your lungs tighten up and swell causing extra mucus. Having the extra mucus in your lungs makes it difficult to breath effectively. Through our pulmonary function spirometry testing, we can provide you with accurate results as to what is causing your asthma. Asthma is often triggered by allergies, exercise, occupational environment, and more.
Exercise-induced asthma is when an individual struggles to breath while working out or playing a sport. Naturally there is a difference between having exercise-induced asthma and being out of shape. Exercise-induced asthma may increase when the weather is cold and dry outside. Whereas, being out of shape may cause shortness of breath, but is not asthma. If you are ever in doubt whether your symptoms are caused by fitness level or could be asthma related, cease your exercise immediately and schedule an appointment with an asthma specialist.
Another cause of asthma is occupational asthma. Occupational asthma is caused from being in a work environment that has significant, and potentially asthma-triggering, chemical fumes, gases, or dust. If you currently work in this type of an environment, it would be a good idea to see one of our asthma specialists to make sure your lungs are working properly.
The last way asthma is caused is allergy-induced asthma. Allergy-induced asthma is caused by airborne substances like pollen, mold, pet dander, or other allergens. Other ways in which asthma could be triggered is through respiratory infections like a cold, air pollutants like smoke, adverse reactions to certain medications like ibuprofen, strong emotions like stress, particular foods like shrimp, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). If you think you may be affected by any of the different types of asthma, we recommend scheduling an appointment with an asthma specialist as soon as possible for the sake of your health and safety.
Our Asthma Treatment Options
Through each of these causes of asthma, there are different treatments to make breathing easier for the individual affected. These asthma treatment options include allergen immunotherapy, medication, environmental control measures, and asthma action plans.
Our allergen immunotherapy option is offered to those who specifically struggle with allergy-induced asthma. We offer allergen immunotherapy to help reduce the effects of allergies on your breathing. Allergen immunotherapy is a treatment option that allows an individual to slowly change their immune system’s response to the allergy through a needleless option.
This is done by carefully and controllably exposing the individual to the allergen; increasing the amount of the allergen each time to build a higher tolerance. Allergen immunotherapy allows our patients the ability to be in areas where there is the allergy, but not having to feel like they must avoid it.
For example, if an athlete had an allergy to pollen, but played an outdoor sport, creating a higher tolerance would help them to continue to be around pollen without affecting their quality of breathing. Columbia Allergy and Asthma Specialists offers allergen immunotherapy to help those with allergy-induced asthma.
Medication Options to Treat Asthma
At Columbia Allergy and Asthma Specialists, we offer many medication options to treat your specific type of asthma. Below is a high-level description of our prescription medications and injectable biologics option.
Our prescription medications include inhaled corticosteroids, short term bronchodilator, long term bronchodilators, leukotriene modifiers, and anticholinergic inhalers. Inhaled corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are commonly used to treat asthma. Our bronchodilators are medication options offered to open airways and reduce swelling. The difference between the short-term and long-term bronchodilator is that the short term lasts for 2-4 hours, while the other lasts for up to 12 hours.
Leukotriene modifiers are used to block the effects of leukotrienes, immune system chemicals that cause asthma symptoms. This type of medication can help prevent asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours. Anticholinergic inhalers help to prevent the muscle bands around the airways from tightening.
An individual struggling with asthma has many different medication options, but to find the best asthma treatment option for your specific symptoms please contact us. At Columbia Allergy and Asthma Specialists, our goal is to ensure you are taking care of yourself and your asthma symptoms in the best and safest way possible.
Injectable Biologics Option
Our injectable biologics option is offered to our patients who struggle with severe asthma. Patients who have asthma that is not being controlled effectively by standard treatments might look into injectable biologics, such as Xolair (omalizumab), Fasenra (benralizumab), Dupixent (dupilumab), and Nucala (mepolizumab). Xolair is a specialty medication that is FDA approved specifically for people 6 years or older. If you struggle to keep your asthma controlled or if you have ever been to the emergency room because of your asthma, Xolair might be a good option for you.
The injectable biologics work by targeting proteins and receptors in the body that cause asthma attacks. By targeting the proteins and receptors in the body, this asthma treatment option reduces the amount of asthma attacks and their severity. If you are interested in treating your asthma through our injectable biologics option, please contact our allergy specialists today.
Environmental Control Measures for Asthma
Environmental control measures are actions taken in order to provide a safe environment for the individual affected. An individual who is affected by something in their home would take the environmental control measure to remove it. For example, if an individual’s asthma is from pet dander, removing the pet from the home would be the necessary environmental control measure taken. However, we also understand that many pet owners are not willing to remove the pet, so allergen immunotherapy would be discussed in this instance.
Being in an environment where an individual is not affected by their allergy is the sole purpose of environmental control measures. This helps to reduce the affects of asthma in the individual’s lungs and provides a quality environment for them to thrive.
Asthma Treatment Action Plans
To truly help you mitigate the effects of your asthma, we create an asthma action plan to help you understand when to take your medication, how much of your medication you should take, a list of your asthma triggers, how to avoid your asthma triggers, and more. We will also provide a way for you to track your asthma and the success of your asthma treatments.
For a successful asthma treatment action plan, patients must be alert to periodic acute illnesses. Asthma and acute illness together can cause an individual to have very unstable asthma symptoms. Colds, viruses, and allergies are common causes for temporary instability of your asthma symptoms. If you believe you have an acute illness, please contact our asthma specialists today.
At Columbia Allergy and Asthma Specialists, we do our best to accommodate same day acute illness appointments. We also strive to provide the best asthma treatment action plans for each of our patients and can continue to do this by treating acute illness as soon as it is noticed.
Help Your Asthma Today with Columbia Allergy and Asthma Specialists
Through all of these treatments offered, we allow our patients to increase their quality of breathing. Whether you are just starting to notice symptoms of asthma or have struggled with severe asthma for years, we would love to help you. Contact us today so that we can provide you with all the information to correctly treat your asthma.