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Asthma is a reversible disease of airway due to airway hyper-responsiveness characterized by bronchoconstriction. Family history of allergy plays an important key factor as asthma is inherited genetically. Patients present to me complaining of cough, breathlessness, chest tightness, wheezing (whistling sound from the mouth) etc. As a proud asthma specialist in Chennai, I correctly diagnose the case, confirm it through spirometry and start appropriate treatment according to GINA guidelines.
It isn’t clear why some people get asthma and others don’t, but it’s probably due to a combination of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors. Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:
- Airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
- Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
- Cold air
- Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
- Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
- Strong emotions and stress
- Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
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A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. These include:
- Having a blood relative (such as a parent or sibling) with asthma
- Having another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Being overweight
- Being a smoker
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
- Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing
When a patient who has already been diagnosed as asthma I ask various questions like 1. When was the patient diagnosed? 2. How was he/she diagnosed? 3. Is he/she on regular medication? 4. Is there any similar illness in family? 5. Is asthma well controlled? 6. Any history of over the counter medication?
When I treat a patient with asthma I ask them to come for follow up and assess whether it is well controlled by asking the following four questions: i. Day time symptoms (1 mark) ii. Night time symptoms (1 mark) iii. Inhaler usage (1 mark) iv Routine activities (1 mark). Score 0 and 1 – well controlled, Score 2 – intermediate control, Score 3 and 4 – uncontrolled.
What is the importance of over the counter medications? Over the counter, patient takes two drugs: i. Steroids – presents with Cushing’s syndrome ii. Salbutamol inhaler (asthalin) – presents with tremors, tachycardia. So I strongly recommend the patients with asthma not to buy any medicines from medical shop. Please use the inhalers prescribed by your asthma specialist in chennai.
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Asthma complications include:
- Signs and symptoms that interfere with sleep, work or recreational activities
- Sick days from work or school during asthma flare-ups
- Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling) that affects how well you can breathe
- Emergency room visits and hospitalizations for severe asthma attacks
- Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma
Get treated with Asthma specialist in Chennai for the best result. Proper treatment makes a big difference in preventing both short-term and long-term complications caused by asthma.
While there’s no way to prevent asthma, by working together, you and your doctor can design a step-by-step plan for living with your condition and preventing asthma attacks.
- Follow your asthma action plan. With your doctor and health care team, write a detailed plan for taking medications and managing an asthma attack. Then be sure to follow your plan.
Asthma is an ongoing condition that needs regular monitoring and treatment. Taking control of your treatment can make you feel more in control of your life in general.
- Get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia. Staying current with vaccinations can prevent flu and pneumonia from triggering asthma flare-ups.
- Identify and avoid asthma triggers. A number of outdoor allergens and irritants — ranging from pollen and mold to cold air and air pollution — can trigger asthma attacks. Find out what causes or worsens your asthma, and take steps to avoid those triggers.
- Monitor your breathing.You may learn to recognize warning signs of an impending attack, such as slight coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. But because your lung function may decrease before you notice any signs or symptoms, regularly measure and record your peak airflow with a home peak flow meter.
- Identify and treat attacks early. If you act quickly, you’re less likely to have a severe attack. You also won’t need as much medication to control your symptoms.
When your peak flow measurements decrease and alert you to an oncoming attack, take your medication as instructed and immediately stop any activity that may have triggered the attack. If your symptoms don’t improve, get medical help as directed in your action plan.
- Take your medication as prescribed. Just because your asthma seems to be improving, don’t change anything without first talking to your doctor.
- Pay attention to increasing quick-relief inhaler use. If you find yourself relying on your quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol, your asthma isn’t under control. Consult an asthma Specialist in Chennai about adjusting your treatment.
I am an asthma specialist in chennai who strictly follows a protocol for treating cases where patients output and feedback is awesome.