What is Asthma?
Asthma is a persistent lung condition which causes narrowing of the airways due to inflammation and constriction. People with asthma often display symptoms such as coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Coughing occurs early in the morning and at night, but may occur throughout the day. When an irritant is inhaled, exposure to cold occurs, or even exercising, the muscles in the airway can constrict and inflammation may worsen. The airways narrow even more when cells produce a mucus which can be very thick and difficult to mobilize. Progressive airway bronchoconstriction, airway inflammation, and mucus production will make asthma symptoms worse and make breathing more difficult.
If you have asthma, your symptoms can worsen if you incur a change in your breathing pattern or encounter a substance to which you're sensitive. Asthma is one of the leading causes of missed work and school in America and often runs in families.
What tests are performed to diagnose asthma and lungs health?
- Nitric Oxide Testing to assess airway inflammation
- Methacholine Challenge to confirm diagnosis of asthma
- Pulmonary function Tests (PFT) to measure how well the lungs perform assessing the lung volume, strength of diaphragm and the airflow to and from your lungs.
How do I prepare for these breathing tests?
These non-invasive breathing tests are done during one appointment, and most often can be done on the same day as your medical consultation. You will be asked to breath in specific manners into a tube that is connected to a machine. There is minimal discomfort, but due to the deep breathing, you may become tired or light-headed. To get the most accurate results from your breathing tests
- Do not smoke for at least 1 hour before the test
- Do not drink alcohol for at least 4 hours before the test.
- Do not exercise heavily for at least 30 minutes before the test.
- Do not wear tight clothing that makes it difficult for you to take a deep breath.
- Do not eat a large meal within 2 hours before the test.
Some medications should not be taken before the test. Please check with us prior to your appointment.
What treatments are used for Asthma?
Commonly, two types of medications are employed to assist with asthma symptoms: long-term medications and rescue or quick-relief medications. Inhalers are frequently used for treating asthma. These medications relieve inflammation and irritation. These inhaled medications are usually a type of steroid. Rescue inhalers are designed to treat the sudden onset of severe asthma symptoms. Additionally, Dr. Avi may suggest IV therapy to help his asthma patients breath better.