Asthma

Asthma

Cough may be a symptom of asthma that can appear without the other well-known asthma symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Vast majority of asthma is triggered by environmental allergies. Dr. Ryan Shilian and the team at the Allergy & Immunology Center encourage you to come in for an evaluation if you have any sign of asthma so that you can receive expert treatment to reduce asthma attacks. If you have questions about your symptoms or you’d like to make an appointment, call the office, or request one online today.

A young boy using an asthma inhaler on a soccer field.

Asthma does not always present as wheezing or difficulty breathing. Recurrent or chronic cough or bronchitis may be symptoms of undiagnosed asthma.

A woman is holding an asthma inhaler.

Your Asthma Questions, Answered

What causes asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways become hypersensitive and/or inflamed. When you have an asthma attack, three things happen that narrow your airways and make it hard to breathe:

  • Small airways become swollen
  • Muscles lining the airways tighten
  • Extra mucus is produced that further clogs the airways

Once you develop asthma, your airways remain inflamed, which makes you more susceptible to future asthma attacks.

What triggers an asthma attack?

Although each patient has their own group of asthma triggers, some of the most common include:

  • Hay fever (allergies)
  • Cold air
  • Tobacco 
  • Air pollution and smoke
  • Certain odors and chemical fumes
  • Stress and strong emotions
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • A weak immune system

Physical activity is another common trigger. Nearly 90% of all patients with asthma experience exercise-induced bronchospasm. Dr. Shilian and the team can help you stay active with proper treatment.

What is allergic asthma?

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma. You have allergic asthma when your asthma is triggered by environmental allergies (hay fever).

What symptoms will I develop due to asthma?

The symptoms of asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing

When your cough is due to asthma, you will not get adequate relief from an over-the-counter cough medicine.

If you have cough-variant asthma, the only symptom you’ll develop is a dry, chronic cough. This type of asthma, which is more common in children, is often triggered by allergies.

How is asthma treated?

Following a comprehensive review of your medical history and a physical exam, Dr. Shilian determines whether you have asthma by performing lung function tests in the office.

When allergic asthma is suspected, Dr. Shilian also determines your specific allergens with allergy testing. Immunotherapy, to treat your allergies, may also help improve your asthma.

When you have asthma, it’s important to identify your triggers so that you can avoid them as much as possible. Medical treatments for asthma include:

Quick-relief medication

Quick-relief medications are delivered via an inhaler or by using a device called a nebulizer, which converts your medication into a fine mist that you can inhale. This treatment is used to quickly open your airways during an asthma attack.

Long-term asthma control medications

Dr. Shilian may prescribe daily medications to reduce inflammation in your airways, keep your asthma under control, and prevent future flare-ups.

In patients whose asthma symptoms are not well controlled with daily medications, the Allergy & Immunology Center will use FDA-approved, non-steroidal injections to help improve lung function and prevent severe asthma attacks.

If you experience difficulty breathing or develop wheezing or cough, call the Allergy & Immunology Center or request an appointment online today.

Can asthma go away on its own?

Asthma is a chronic condition, meaning it typically persists over time. While some children and adults may experience a decrease in asthma symptoms as they age, asthma rarely goes away entirely. However, asthma symptoms can vary in severity and frequency throughout a person’s life, and it is essential to continue monitoring and managing asthma to prevent the potential for flare-ups and asthma attacks. Dr. Ryan Shillian at the Allergy & Immunology Center promotes the importance of ongoing asthma management and treatment, providing personalized treatment plans to help patients maintain healthy lung function and quality of life.

Can asthma be managed without medication?

While medication is often necessary for managing asthma effectively, there are alternate strategies and lifestyle modifications that can help reduce symptoms and improve overall lung health. These modifications include identifying and avoiding asthma triggers, practicing proper breathing techniques, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying physically active. Additionally, those with allergic asthma may benefit from allergen immunotherapy through allergy shots, which can desensitize the immune system to specific allergens. The first step in determining how to manage your asthma symptoms should be consulting with an experienced allergist. At the Allergy & Immunology Center in Encino, we can perform the required asthma testing to identify asthma triggers and treatments tailored to your needs and lifestyle.

What are the benefits of immunotherapy for allergic asthma? Is asthma genetic?

Immunotherapy, particularly for allergic asthma, offers several benefits for individuals struggling with asthma triggered by environmental allergens. By gradually exposing the immune system to small amounts of allergens through allergy shots, immunotherapy helps desensitize the body’s response, reducing allergic reactions and asthma symptoms over time. This approach can lead to long-term relief and potentially reduce the need for medication dependence. While genetics can play a role in predisposing individuals to asthma, it’s not the sole determining factor. Environmental factors and lifestyle choices significantly influence the development and severity of asthma. At the Allergy & Immunology Center in Encino, we offer comprehensive asthma and allergy testing services to identify triggers and develop personalized prevention strategies and treatment plans to help you effectively manage your asthma symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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