What is Asthma?

asthmaAsthma is a long-term inflammatory disease that restricts a person’s breathing. When your asthma acts up, your airways can become swollen, restricted, and inflamed, which is what makes breathing difficult. Asthma can be aggravated by exercise and other physical and emotional stressors. It’s a common condition, with more than three million new cases every year.

Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma can lay dormant for long periods of time with no symptoms, but when people do experience symptoms, they can be extreme. Symptoms include intense coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing. Many people describe a bad asthma attack as feeling like there’s “an elephant on their chest.” Symptoms can be aggravated by cold air, and serious attacks can be life-threatening. Many people who have asthma may also suffer from other issues, like obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and rhinosinusitis.

Asthma and the Environment

Many studies have found that environmental factors like air pollution and environmental chemicals can exacerbate symptoms. Because ozone, one of the most common air pollutants, can affect lung function, people with asthma are more likely to experience acute asthma symptoms in areas with high amounts of pollution than in areas with less pollution, according to a recent study performed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. If asthma is onset before the age of 12, it’s most likely due to genetics, and if it’s onset is after age 12, it’s usually due to environmental factors.

Living with Asthma

Living with asthma doesn’t have to mean giving up sports or physical activity. In fact, building up an endurance through exercise can help you better combat asthma. Even sports, like swimming or snowboarding, which are commonly thought to be bad for people with asthma, are possible but should be done cautiously. With the right treatment and medication, living with asthma can be manageable.

Asthma Treatment in El Paso

The heat and dust in El Paso may make living with asthma more difficult. During the hotter months of the year, take advantage of air conditioning and take periodic breaks indoors when spending a lot of time outside. It’s best to talk with a doctor to find the right treatment plan for you, one that will help you based on individual factors.

El Paso Pulmonary Association Can Help

Because asthma can be life-threatening, it’s important to take the necessary steps to treat it. If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, the physicians at El Paso Pulmonary Association can help you find the best treatment plan for you. Asthma doesn’t have to stop you from living your life, and with the right treatment, you can minimize its effects on your body. Contact us today to learn more!