Many people know asthma as a condition where an individual struggles to breath normally, but what exactly is going on inside the body? The lining of the airways become swollen and inflamed, and muscle spasms disrupt the flow of air to the lungs. This chronic lung disease is a common condition that is affecting more and more people in recent years. Currently, an estimated 12 million Americans struggle with asthma, including 4 million children.
In Utah, about 8.6 percent (167,000) of adults and 6.7 (59,000) percent of children have asthma, according to health.utah.gov. There are thousands of hospitalizations and emergency department visits due to asthma each year in Utah. Dr. Douglas Jones will work to develop a sound, individual plan with each patient.
What are Common Asthma Symptoms?
The most common symptoms are difficulty breathing, of course, but also a tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing. In some people, the only symptom is a chronic cough, and many of these cases are never diagnosed.
Generally, the symptoms of asthma are most prevalent in the night and in the morning, though an episode can occur at any time. Most have heard of “asthma-attacks,” which can be a terrifying ordeal for both adults and children. These episodes can range from causing mild discomfort to being life-threatening, requiring immediate emergency attention.
What Causes Asthma?
One of the central difficulties of treating asthma is finding out what causes it. A combination of inflammation of the lung and a narrowing of the lung are activated by the immune system. A number of factors trigger this immune system response.
- Exposure to Allergens – pollen, dust, mold, feathers, animal dander and some foods can all trigger an episode of asthma.
- Viral Infection – Simple colds can cause asthma to exacerbate severely.
- Exercise –With proper monitoring and treatment, most people with asthma benefit from an exercise program.
- Emotional Stress
- Weather Conditions – Sudden changes in the weather can trigger asthma reactions, as can cold, windy weather.
These triggers are all common in Salt Lake City and the rest of Utah.
What Can I Expect From Treatment?
With proper diagnosis and treatment by an asthma specialist like Dr. Jones, most people with asthma can pursue normal lifestyles and expect to:
- Sleep through the night without disruptive coughing episodes, and awaken clear-chested in the morning.
- Avoid acute asthma “attacks,” eliminating the need for emergency room visits or hospitalization.
- Prevent missed days from work or school.
- Lead a full life with normal physical activity.