What is Asthma?

What is Asthma?

There are an estimated 17 million people in the U.S. with self-reported asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease marked by wheezing, chest tightness, and/or shortness of breath. Consult a physician if you or someone you know has the following symptoms:

  • Coughs a lot during or after exercise
  • Has shortness of breath
  • Wheezes while breathing
  • Has a tight feeling in the chest

Asthma symptoms are caused by the constriction (tightening of the muscles) and the inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the airways. Constriction and inflammation of the airways and increased mucosa make it difficult and sometimes impossible to breathe.

What Causes Asthma?

Allergens, irritant, respiratory infections and/or exercise can trigger asthma symptoms. Asthma is often placed in different categories according to symptom “triggers”

  • Allergic Asthma: triggered by allergic reactions to allergens such as pet dander, dust or dust mite, mold or pollen.
  • Seasonal Asthma: triggered by seasonal allergic reactions to allergens such as trees, grasses or weeds.
  • Non-allergic Asthma: triggered by irritants in the air that you breathe such as tobacco smoke, wood smoke, room deodorizers, fresh paint, perfume, etc.
  • Exercise-induced Asthma: triggered by exercise or physical activity
  • Nocturnal Asthma: Can occur in a patient with any type of asthma, though the asthma symptoms will increase or worsen at night.

For treatment, it is important to recognize asthma “triggers.” Airway inflammation may always be there, even when you are seemingly symptom-free.

How is Asthma Treated?

Though there is not a cure for asthma, the symptoms can easily be controlled through physician recommended medications and trigger avoidance. New medications make it possible to lead a normal life; there are long-term controller medications that help treat and control asthma. A high percentage of asthma patients suffer from allergies. Controlling those allergies is the first step to controlling their asthma.

What Happens if My Asthma Goes Untreated?

It is extremely important to seek medical attention for asthma. Airway inflammation is more likely to occur and become severe the longer asthma goes untreated. Asthma is not a medical condition that goes away. Not treating airway inflammation and constriction may cause you to lose lung function; thus, seeking medical care is essential. For those individuals with allergic asthma, identifying and treating your allergies is instrumental in treating your asthma. An allergist can help you determine your allergies and prescribe an effective treatment plan.

What About Children and Asthma?

Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children. If a child’s asthma is left untreated, it can result in loss of sleep, exercise limitations, absenteeism, emergency room visits, and, in a few cases, death. The good news? Just like adult asthma, a child’s asthma can be effectively treated with medications and “trigger” avoidance. Again, receiving medical help for asthma is essential!

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“My son has been going to Dr. Mery for over a year.  I always appreciate how attentive the nurses are to him when checking him out before he is released after his shot.  This office is very clean and organized as well.”

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“Hill Country Allergy has been a very good experience for me these last few weeks. A great team has been providing me with a thorough job of evaluating my allergy needs and implementing a specific plan to reach my specific goal of setting my allergies under control. All staff is efficient, courteous, and very knowledgeable of my specific concerns. I am very pleased with my current service.”

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Maria B.

“Dr. Mery saved me! I struggled for months with a skin reaction that three other doctors were unable to get under control.  It was clear from the onset that Dr. Mery is truly invested in his patients as he spent so much time with me trying to understand my situation and helped me tremendously with my condition.  Dr. Mery and his staff genuinely care for their patients!”

Krista H.

“My son saw Dr. Mery years ago for his bad allergies.  He was tested, started shots and has been on shots for a couple of years now.  We cannot begin to express our gratitude to HCAA for helping our family.  Our son is completely different kid – he can now play on sports teams and enjoy playing outside with his buddies!  THANK YOU DR. MERY!”

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