What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs.

If you have asthma, your airways are always inflamed. They become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something triggers your symptoms. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness.

People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. Many people with asthma also have allergies. This is called allergic asthma. Our Houston asthma specialists offer many treatments.

What are the common asthma symptoms?

According to the leading experts in asthma, the symptoms of asthma and the best treatment for you or your child may be quite different than for someone else with asthma. The most common symptom is wheezing. This is a scratchy or whistling sound when you breathe. Other asthma symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Chronic coughing
  • Trouble sleeping due to coughing or wheezing

Asthma symptoms, also called asthma flare-ups or asthma attacks, are often caused by allergies and exposure to allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen, or mold. Non-allergic triggers include smoke, pollution, cold air, or changes in weather. Asthma symptoms may be worse during exercise, when you have a cold, or during times of high stress.

Children with asthma may show the same symptoms as adults with asthma: coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In some children, chronic cough may be the only symptom. If your child has one or more of these common asthma symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist/immunologist:

  • Coughing that is constant or that is made worse by viral infections, happens while your child is asleep, or is triggered by exercise and cold air
  • Wheezing or whistling sound when your child exhales
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing, which may be associated with exercise
  • Chest tightness (a young child may say that his chest “hurts” or “feels funny”)
  • Fatigue (your child may slow down or stop playing)
  • Problems feeding or grunting during feeding (infants)
  • Avoiding sports or social activities
  • Problems sleeping due to coughing or difficulty breathing

Why Should You See An Allergist For Asthma Treatment in Houston, TX?

There is significant overlap with allergies and asthma.  Those with early onset asthma (before age 12) and allergic sensitivity to indoor allergens are three times more likely to have persistent asthma. This stresses the importance of management of risk factors that can lead to asthma and asthma exacerbations. Seeing an allergy specialist helps evaluate and treat a significant underlying component of persistent asthma. Seeing an asthma specialist (whether it be in Allergist or a Pulmonologist) can help tailor treatments to improve health outcomes. 

Are there different types of Asthma?

There are several different types of asthma, and they should be diagnosed by one of our Houston asthma doctors.

  • Seasonal asthma can be triggered by allergic reactions to allergens such as trees, grasses, or weeds.
  • Allergic asthma is triggered by allergic reactions to allergens such as pet dander, dust or dust mites, mold, or pollen.
  • Non-allergic asthma is triggered by irritants in the air that you breathe such as tobacco smoke, wood smoke, room deodorizers, fresh paint, and perfume.
  • Exercise-induced asthma is triggered during physical activities.
  • Nocturnal asthma is triggered by exercise or physical activity.

Asthma Treatment Options & Management

There is no cure for asthma, but you can control symptoms with our effective asthma treatment options in Houston, Texas. This involves taking your medications as directed and learning to avoid triggers that cause your asthma symptoms. As a rule of thumb, allergies cause asthma in 90 percent of children and 50 percent of adults. Specific allergy treatments (allergy injections and oral sublingual drops) have been shown to prevent and decrease asthma.

Xolair and other biologics are asthma treatment options only for patients with high IgE levels and moderate to severe asthma. Xolair, Fasenra, and other biologics are similar to allergy shots, which bind the IgE and inactivate it. The injections help reduce the number of asthma attacks in people with allergic asthma who still have asthma symptoms even though they are taking inhaled steroids, which help with asthma management.

How Can Biologic Treatment Help Asthma Symptoms?

Biologic therapies are typically mono-clonal antibodies that are targeted specifically to inflammatory molecules involved in asthmatic conditions. These therapies and asthma treatment options in Houston, Texas, help not only with symptom control but also help to prevent asthma flares in a safe and effective manner.

What Are the Lasting Effects of Untreated Asthma?

If left untreated or undertreated, asthmatics can have a more rapid decline in pulmonary capacity. This can lead to more limitations in daily activities, more unscheduled doctor visits, and higher health care expenditures due to hospitalization and missed time from work or school. Over time, untreated asthma has a significant overlap with COPD/emphysema with lung reversibility, which you see classically in asthma, being lost.

Your allergist will prescribe the best treatment for your condition and provide you with specific instructions for using them to help with long-term asthma management. If you would like more information about our asthma treatment options in Houston, Texas, please call our central appointment desk (713) MY-SINUS or (713) 597-4426 and schedule an appointment with one of our asthma specialists.

To learn more information about our Houston asthma clinic, contact us to book your appointment.