Allergy and Clinical Immunology Medical Group
Allergy & Immunology located in Santa Monica, CA
Asthma is a common health condition that can be debilitating and even dangerous. If you or your child exhibits symptoms of asthma, board-certified allergists Bernard Geller, MD, Ph.D., and Sanny Chan, MD, Ph.D. can help at Allergy & Clinical Immunology Medical Group in Santa Monica, California. They test for and treat asthma so you can breathe deeper and remain active. Call to learn more about asthma treatment or book an appointment online today.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic health condition that affects your airways, causing them to narrow, swell, and produce excess mucus. If you suffer from asthma you might experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- A whistling sound when exhaling
- Difficulty breathing during exercise
If you have exercise-induced asthma, your symptoms probably become worse with physical activity or when the air is cold and dry.
What causes asthma?
The cause of asthma isn’t entirely clear but seems to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It’s often associated with allergies. You might experience symptoms of asthma from smoke or other air pollutants, a respiratory infection, ingesting food additives, or breathing in airborne allergens, like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores.
How is asthma diagnosed?
Dr. Geller and Dr. Chan use diagnostic asthma tests to determine if you have traditional or exercise-induced asthma. Examples include:
A physical exam
Your doctor completes a physical exam and asks you about symptoms to determine if asthma or another health condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is the cause of breathing problems.
Lung function tests
Your provider might also recommend lung function tests to determine how much air moves in and out of your lungs. They might recommend spirometry tests to measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow and gas exchange. Other tests such as measurement of exhaled nitric oxide (NIOX) can also assist in the diagnosis of asthma. NIOX is a quantitative, noninvasive method of measuring airway inflammation.
You might complete these or other lung function tests before and after using a bronchodilator, which is a medication that opens your airways. If the medication improves lung function, chances are you have asthma.
Depending on your symptoms and the severity of breathing problems, your doctor might recommend additional tests that diagnose exercise-induced asthma, imaging tests like X-rays or CT scans, blood tests or allergy tests. Since allergies are a common trigger in up to 85% of individuals with asthma, allergy skin testing is often an integral part of the initial evaluation of asthma in order to optimize treatment.
What is the treatment for asthma?
If asthma negatively impacts everyday activities, Dr. Geller and Dr. Chan might recommend the following asthma treatments:
- Quick-relief asthma medications like inhalers
- Long-term asthma control medications to prevent symptoms
- Allergy shots for symptom relief
- Avoiding allergen triggers
- Breathing exercises
- Bronchial thermoplasty
Don’t let asthma symptoms reduce your quality of life. Call Allergy & Clinical Immunology Medical Group for asthma testing and treatment today or book an appointment online.
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