A late spring and high pollen count could have many people suffering from both allergies and asthma like never before.  Allergic reactions could develop at any age and, in the most severe cases, turn into asthma.  Let’s talk about the differences.

ALLERGIES

Tree pollen allergies are the most common trigger of breathing difficulties.  Pollen triggered asthma can be treated using an inhaler. Other long-term asthma-control medications, such as steroids go a long way in helping to keep symptoms under control.

FAST FACTS

  • There are no cures for allergies. Allergies can be managed with proper prevention and treatment.
  • Allergies have a genetic component. If only one parent has allergies of any type, chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have an allergy. If both parents have allergies, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have allergies.
  • More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from allergies. It is among the country’s most common, yet often overlooked, diseases. [1]

ASTHMA

What is it exactly?

Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.

Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children. [2]

SYMPTOMS of ASTHMA

Asthma symptoms can differ for each person, but here are some of the most common:

  • Wheezing. You may notice a wheezing sound when you breathe.
  • Frequent Cough. This may be more common at night. You may or may not cough up mucus.
  • Shortness of Breath. This is the feeling you can’t get enough air into your lungs. It may occur only once in a while, or often.
  • Chest Tightness. Your chest may feel tight, especially during cold weather or exercise. This can also be the first sign of a flare-up.

 

How is Asthma Diagnosed?

If you experience any of the symptoms above, it is important to see your healthcare provider to determine if you have asthma. There are several breathing tests your physician may perform. The most common test is called spirometry. (Spirometry uses a device called, a spirometer, to measure the amount and speed of the air you blow out.) This will help your healthcare provider to see how well your lungs are working. [3]

 

What you need to tell your healthcare provider:

  • What symptoms you are having or your peak flow reading.
  • How long your symptoms have lasted.
  • What you think triggered your symptoms.
  • What medicines you have taken.
  • Whether or not you think your asthma medicines are working.
  • Whether or not your medicines are causing side effects.

 

Make it a habit to start writing down the things you want to talk about with your healthcare provider. You can write down problems you are having or note any questions you want to ask about your medicines.  [3]

 

Talk to your Valley Healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. The sooner you begin treating your asthma and maintaining control, the less damage you will cause to your lungs in the long run. There are many resources available for people living with asthma and their loved ones.

[1] http://www.aafa.org

[2] http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

[3] http://www.Lung.org


Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell has managed many specialty areas of healthcare including, kidney transplant, physical therapy and surgery.  She combines her expertise in patient relations with her love of writing to bring awareness of health related issues.   In her blog, Dreamlife Moments, she writes about mindfulness of time and recognizing more of the positive moments happening around us every day that creates a more positive life experience. Jennifer and her husband Byron are recent empty-nesters who enjoy traveling with their bichon Aissa, geocaching and volunteering wherever they go. Who is this chickie anyway? Connect with Jennifer on her Facebook Page, Blog and Twitter to find out more.

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