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Asthma Triggers
If you have asthma your airways always have some irritation. When you have an asthma attack this irritation gets worse and your airways close part way and get blocked with mucus. Asthma attacks may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

An asthma attack can occur when you are exposed to things in the environment, such as house dust mites and tobacco smoke. These are called asthma triggers.

Your personal triggers can be very different from those of another person with asthma. Try to avoid your triggers. Some of the most important triggers are listed below:
  • Air pollution
  • Strong odors
  • Wood smoke
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pets
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Weather changes
Stress or illness may also trigger an asthma episode. What actually triggers an asthma flare up can vary greatly from person to person. Learn what triggers your attacks so that you can avoid the triggers whenever possible. Be alert for a possible attack when the triggers cannot be avoided. Remember, you can control your asthma!
Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs.
If you have asthma your airways are always inflamed; once you develop asthma your airways can stay inflamed even when you feel fine. Because of the inflammation, the airways are hyper responsive (supersensitive). They become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something triggers your symptoms. Triggers include physical changes (cold air, temperature changes, exercise), allergens (animal dander, dust mites, pollens or molds) and irritants (smoke, air pollution, chemicals, cleaners, strong odors or sprays) or respiratory infections. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness. Over time, chronic inflammation in the airways can lead to permanent scarring and gradual loss of lung function. This can cause permanent breathing problems. This is one reason asthma needs to be treated with anti-inflammatory (or controller) medications even if there are no symptoms. Rescue medications (relievers) are used as needed to relieve acute asthma flare ups.

Exercise Induced Asthma
For many asthma sufferers, timing of these symptoms is closely related to physical activity. And, some otherwise healthy people can develop asthma symptoms only when exercising. This is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), or exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Staying active is an important way to stay healthy, so asthma shouldn't keep you on the sidelines. Your physician can develop a management plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during and after physical activity.
Allergic Asthma
People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. Many people with asthma also have allergies that trigger them. This is called allergic asthma.

Childhood asthma impacts millions of children and their families. In fact, the majority of children who develop asthma do so before the age of five.

There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled. Once it is properly diagnosed and a treatment plan is in place you will be able to control and manage your condition, and your quality of life will improve. It is important to find out what your asthma triggers are so that you can plan ways to avoid or reduce contact with them.
Diagnosing and Treating Asthma
An allergist / immunologist is the best qualified physician in diagnosing and treating asthma. With the help of your allergist, you can take control of your condition and participate in normal activities. The allergist will obtain a detailed medical history, examine you and evaluate your symptoms. Allergy skin tests will be performed to define the nature of your allergic triggers. Lung function tests will be performed to help measure the status of your asthma and also to monitor treatment response over time. Asthma treatment consists of proper medications, avoidance of factors that can trigger your asthma and, when appropriate, allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) and/or the more recently introduced anti-IgE injections.

In summary, although no cure exists for asthma, excellent treatment is available for control of symptoms. We learn more about asthma every year and newer, more effective and safer drugs are always being developed. As a result, most patients with asthma live normal, productive lives.

To discuss treatment options with our friendly staff, please call us today at (352) 331-2485 or email us at info@gainesvilleallergy.com. We look forward to caring for you and your family.