St. Francis Sleep, Allergy & Lung Institute
Pulmonary, Sleep, Allergy & Clinical Research Center located in Clearwater, Florida
About 1 in 13 people in the United States struggles to breathe because of asthma. At St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute in Clearwater, Florida, Frank Averill, MD, works hard to help asthma patients learn their triggers, prevent attacks, and manage their symptoms when they occur. To find out if your breathing problems are asthma-related, call St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute to speak with a provider or book your next appointment online at your convenience.
Asthma Q & A
What is asthma?
Asthma is a condition that affects your breathing. If you have asthma, your airways become inflamed and narrow, often producing extra mucus. This causes you to cough, wheeze, and gasp for air. The condition is more common in women than in men and is the most common chronic disease in children.
An asthma attack occurs when a trigger causes your airways to constrict all at once. Attacks can be very dangerous and even deadly if you don’t have the tools to manage them. Common triggers for asthma attacks include:
- Contact with allergens
- Breathing in chemicals
- Stress or anxiety
Currently, experts don’t know the underlying cause of asthma. However, your doctor can help you manage your symptoms and give you strategies to prevent attacks.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma comes with several symptoms. For some patients, symptoms are hardly noticeable most of the time with occasional asthma attacks. Others struggle with constant symptoms that require continuous attention.
Common signs and symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Whistling or wheezing when you breathe
- Chest pain
- Trouble sleeping
These symptoms often get worse if you’re sick with a cold or the flu. You should visit an emergency room if your symptoms rapidly worsen or if they don’t go away after you take your medication or use your inhaler.
What are my treatment options for asthma?
Asthma doesn’t have a cure, but there are numerous ways to manage your symptoms. Your provider at St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute might prescribe or recommend:
Quick-relief inhalers are small devices you can carry on your person at all times. They quickly open your airways during an asthma attack to help you breathe. There are several types, and your doctor gives you specific instructions on how to use it.
Long-term medications are to be taken daily to ward off the symptoms of asthma and prevent attacks. If you take them, you’ll still get an inhaler to use in the event of an attack.
If you have allergies that trigger asthma attacks, your doctor may give you allergy medications to help prevent them from happening.
Your asthma can flare up at any time, so it’s important to be knowledgeable and prepared. To find out if asthma is causing your breathing problems, don’t hesitate to call St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute or book an appointment online.