Asthma, Allergies, ANNAPOLIS, MD
Written by Page Anderson

What causes asthma?

The exact causes of asthma aren’t clear, but there are factors that contribute to the development of asthma. According to the American Lung Association, asthma does tend to run in families; however, both inherited and environmental factors do play key roles.  

Risk Factors 

If your parents have or had asthma, you are more likely to have asthma as well. Similarly, if a parent has allergies, their children are more likely to have allergies. Respiratory infections during infancy and early childhood may damage delicate lung tissue, which can have long-term effects on lung function.   Exposure to allergens, irritants and viral infections during infancy or early childhood can compromise the developing immune system. This type of exposure has been linked to asthma. Adults may develop asthma after exposure to chemicals or dust in the workplace. 

You won’t be surprised to learn that smoking and pollution also have negative effects on health and can trigger asthma. You may not be aware of one other contributing factor in the development of asthma: obesity. Both children and adults who are overweight are more likely to suffer from asthma. This group also tends to take more medication and have a more difficult time managing their condition than people of a healthy weight. 

Diagnosis 

Asthma often presents as a nagging cough, periodic shortness of breath or wheezing, but even having these alone doesn’t mean you necessarily have asthma. You need to be diagnosed by a physician to confirm the condition. The doctor will take a complete health history and administer tests such as spirometry. This test measures lung function by measuring how quickly and how much air you blow out.  

Treatment 

Just as types of asthma vary between different people, asthma  treatment needs to be tailored to the individual. There are now a dizzying array of new medications – some in combination, many of which available as inhalers – effective on all types of asthma. They tend to fall into two groups: those used for short-term, quick-relief, and others which provide more long-term control. It’s important to understand why and when to use each.  

Traditionally, fast-acting bronchodilators are necessary to rapidly relax muscle spasms choking your airways from the outside, giving immediate, though temporary, relief. Anti-inflammatory medications work more slowly to cut down the stubborn swelling and mucus  within airways, which builds more slowly from viruses and allergies. Both types of medications are important as part of an overall management plan. 

However, within the last few years, recent advances in technology have led to exciting, new biologic therapies that are now changing the way we treat targeting specific types of asthma.  Come visit the specialists at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma who determine if and which type of asthma you have, and will help you develop a management plan that works for you. Call us today at 410-573-1600.

Written by Page Anderson

New Treatments for Asthma

Asthma is an increasingly common health problem in the United States. Asthma is a swelling and tightening of the airways that presents itself in the form of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. There are multiple reasons for this. One source is outdoor air quality. Smog and smoke, industrial waste released into the air and carbon emissions from cars all add to the problem. The quality of indoor air is also an issue. Buildings that have repurposed air tend to have lower air quality, even with the most effective air filters.

Asthma is not curable, but it can be controlled. Inhaled corticosteroids are one regularly used treatment. The aim of all asthma treatments is to provide long-term control as an intervention for prevention of symptoms, offer quick relief if an individual is having an asthma attack and identifying triggers in order to prevent future asthma attacks.

The most common remedies include medications that prevent the onset of asthma. In the case of an ongoing attack, there are quick acting medicines that stop or lessen the severity of an asthma attack.

New interventions include:

• Biologics. These are medications that enhance and work with the immune system, preventing the airways from expanding and causing a shortness of breath. These are antibiotics with antibodies. Some can be ingested orally, and others are given via an injection.
• Bronchial thermoplasty. When asthma is too severe, it may require a surgical intervention such as bronchial thermoplasty. In this case, the airways are targeted by radiofrequency energy. Interestingly the aim is to destroy smooth muscle linings in the airways. This prevents the airway muscles from performing their normal function of constricting and expanding, ultimately expanding the opening by preventing its narrowing. The current protocol calls for three sessions that are given in three-week intervals.

Research is ongoing in the search for preventive measures and cures for asthma. A recent new pharmaceutical has been introduced – the first in two decades – that shows great promise. The end goal is to wipe out asthma in our lifetime.

If you are struggling with asthma, contact the professionals at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma. We are experienced in helping patients cope with and find relief from asthma symptoms.

ATTENTION CENTREVILLE SHOT PATIENTS;

Our Tuesday and Thursday afternoon shot hours have  changed. We will still have morning hours 8:30-11:30 but our afternoon hours will now be 3:00- 5:30

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

CHANGES TO SHOT HOURS IN CENTREVILLE OFFICE:

OCTOBER 29 2019- NO MORNING SHOT HOURS

OCTOBER 31 2019-8:30AM-11:30AM/1:00PM-2:30PM