Asthma is a condition that occurs when the airways produce mucus, swell, and become more narrow. The severity of this condition varies considerably, with some patients experiencing only minor problems. Other patients may experience life-threatening asthma attacks.
Some of the most common symptoms of asthma include:
The exact cause of asthma isn’t clear, but most researchers believe it occurs because of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most patients with asthma are more likely to experience an attack after being exposed to chemicals or conditions called, triggers.
Some of the most common triggers for patients with asthma include:
In most cases, Dr. Veras Pola will suspect asthma based on the results of the patient’s physical exam. If Dr. Veras Pola suspects that a patient may have asthma, he may order a variety of tests to confirm the diagnosis. The tests Dr. Veras Pola may order include peak flow tests, spirometry, imaging tests, allergy testing, nitric oxide tests, and/or a methacholine challenge. Depending on the results of these tests, Dr. Veras Pola will either confirm or exclude a diagnosis of asthma.
Patients with asthma often respond to medications designed to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. In most cases, Dr. Veras Pola will also prescribe a rescue inhaler that patients can use during an asthma attack.
Children should see Dr. Veras Pola regularly to monitor their asthma and ensure that the current treatment program is working effectively. Patients should also see the doctor if their asthma is worsening. Signs that asthma may be getting worse include using a rescue inhaler more often, increased difficulty breathing, and the appearance of additional symptoms of asthma that weren’t previously present.