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What is asma?

(What is asthma?)

Asma (az-ma) (spelled "Asthma") is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways.  Asma (sic) causes recurring attacks of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing.  Asma attacks can range from very mild that go away spontaneously to very severe requiring immediate medical attention.
                                                                                                              
Asma (asthma) affects people of all ages but often starts in childhood.  In the US, more than 22 million people are known to have asma ; nearly 6 million of these people are children.   Each year asma (sic) accounts for nearly 500,000 hospital stays and costs billions of dollars to treat.  Despite the far reaching effects of asma, much remains to be learned.   

There are two primary types of asma, allergic and non-allergic.  Allergic asma (asthma) symptoms are triggered by inhaled allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollens, mold, etc.  Non-allergic asma (sic) is triggered by other factors such as exercise, cold air, dry air, stress, hyperventilation, or other irritants. 

An asma (asthma) attack is when symptoms are worse than usual.  They can come on suddenly and be mild, moderate or severe.  The normal pattern is

  • Muscles around your airways tighten up, narrowing the airway.
  • Less air is able to flow through the airway.
  • Inflammation of the airway increases, further narrowing the airway.
  • More mucus is produced in the airways, undermining the flow of oxygen even more.

Although asma (asthma) can cause severe health problems, in most cases treatment can control it and allow you to live a normal and active life.

You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an attack, staying away from things that trigger an attack, and following the advice of your doctor.  When  you control your asthma you won’t have symptoms such as coughing or wheezing, you will sleep better, you won’t miss work or school, you can take part in physical activities and you won’t have to go to the hospital. 

If you or a loved one have asma symptoms or uncontrolled asma (asthma), you should seek professional medical advice.  A Board Certified/Eligible Allergy specialist can perform testing necessary to diagnose asma (sic).

If you live in the State of Virginia, consider contacting Richmond Allergy and Asthma Specialists at 1-804-285-7420, or schedule an appointment online. Our specialists are Board Certified/Eligible, they accept referrals from other medical professionals, and the practice does have a certified vaccine laboratory onsite.

Get tested! Get treated! Get better!

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