Asthma is a very common lung problem that causes shortness of breath, wheezing and cough. In general, symptoms are intermittent, but when severe, can be continuous. For some people, environmental triggers such as cigarette smoke, pets, dust or pollens can cause symptoms to flare. Exercise and cold temperatures may also increase symptoms.

Asthma is a disease of the bronchial tubes or airways. Inflammation and constriction of the airways result in unpleasant symptoms. Patients complain of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing out. For some, cough and sputum can be significant symptoms. If you are unable to speak a whole sentence because of your symptoms, this is an emergency and you should be seen by a doctor immediately. Waiting too long to see your doctor can result in a life-threatening situation.

Asthma is diagnosed by taking a history, doing breathing tests (spirometry) and sometimes a chest X-ray. There are many effective therapies for asthma. Inhaled medications are usually tried first. Pills are also used. Most patients don’t require long-term steroid pills to control their symptoms. There are two types of medications used to treat asthma.-- 1) Disease controllers: these medications are used on a regular basis and don’t work immediately; and 2) Rescue inhalers/nebulizers: these medications work quickly to relieve symptoms and open the airways. If you are using your rescue inhalers more than a few times a week your asthma is not under good control.

The lung doctors at Arizona Pulmonary Specialists are experts in the diagnosis and management of asthma. We will work to make sure you have the correct diagnosis and create a treatment plan to keep your asthma in excellent control. Our respiratory therapists and nurses are available to ensure that you are using your medications correctly and answer questions.