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Asthma
Helpful Information and Resources.

The US National Library of Medicine has put together a very informative video and interactive tutorial about asthma that can be viewed by Clicking Here

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, which causes attacks of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness .

When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swell. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in allergy-causing substances (called allergens or triggers).

Common Asthma Triggers Include:
Animals
Dust
Changes in weather
Exercise
Mold
Pollen
Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
Tobacco smoke

Symptoms of Asthma
Cough
Shortness of breath
Wheezing
Usually begins suddenly

Tests & Diagnosis
1.Pulse Oximeter Measurements
2.Peak Flow Meters
3.Spirometry
4.Allergy testing may be helpful in identifying allergens in people with persistent asthma.

Medications
There are two basic kinds of medications for the treatment of asthma:

1. Long-acting medications to prevent attacks.
Inhaled corticosteroids (such as Flovent) prevent inflammation. Leukotriene inhibitors (such as Singulair) and long-acting bronchodilators (such as Advair) help open airways.

2. Quick-relief, or rescue, medications are used to relieve symptoms during an attack. These include:Albuterol, ProAir and Xopenex.

People with mild asthma (infrequent attacks) may use quick relief medication as needed. Those with persistent asthma should take control medications on a regular basis to prevent symptoms.

A peak flow meter is a simple device to measure how quickly you can move air out of your lungs. It can help you see if an attack is coming, sometimes even before any symptoms appear. Peak flow measurements can help show when medication is needed, or other action needs to be taken. Peak flow values of 50-80% of a specific person's best results are a sign of a moderate asthma attack, while values below 50% are a sign of a severe attack. Peak Flow Meters are used in conjunction with Asthma Action Plans, which is your personal plan for asthma management outlined by your doctor.

Prognosis
With proper self management and medical treatment, most people with asthma can lead normal lives.

Complications
The complications of asthma can be severe and may include:
-Decreased ability to exercise and take part in other activities
-Lack of sleep
-Persistent cough
-Trouble breathing that requires breathing assistance (ventilator)
-Death

When to contact a doctor
An asthma attack requires more medication than recommended.
Symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment.
Your peak flow measurement is 50-80% of your personal best.

Go to the Emergency Room if:

  • There is severe shortness of breath at rest
  • The peak flow measurement is less than 50% of your personal best
  • You have severe chest pain

Prevention
Avoid known triggers. Remove carpets from bedrooms and vacuumg regularly. Detergents and cleaning materials in the home should be unscented.

Reduce growth of organisms such as mold. Keep the house clean and if allergic to an animal that cannot be removed from the home, the animal should be kept out of the patient's bedroom.

Eliminating tobacco smoke from the home is the single most important thing a family can do to help a child with asthma. Smoking outside the house is not enough. Family members and visitors who smoke outside carry smoke residue inside on their clothes and hair -- this can trigger asthma symptoms.

 

More Asthma information can be found on our Allergy Resources Page found here.
 

Integrative Pediatrics
Phone: 503.643.2100
Fax: 503.643.7300
Advice Nurse: 971.317.0210
Billing: 971.317.0211
Email: office@integrativepediatricsonline.com
Address: 11790 SW Barnes Rd, Blg. A, Suite 140, Portland, Oregon 97225