Asthma And Allergies

Asthma And Allergies
Do you suffer from common allergies or something more problematic like asthma? What's the difference? Rose Urgent Care & Family Practice, with offices in Vancouver and Battleground, Washington practices patient-centered health care designed to help patients not only manage chronic problems like these, but understand them better. Through patient education, the staff teaches each person how to avoid their triggers and live life breathing a little easier.

Asthma and Allergies Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease that affects the branches of the windpipe, known as the bronchial tubes. They are responsible for moving air from the mouth or nose into the lungs. For patients with asthma, that can be difficult at times. The airways may constrict suddenly or the lining can swell, closing off the tubes. For some people, mucus thickens, making breathing difficult.

Is asthma caused by allergies?

For some patients, there is a direct correlation between allergies and asthma. Allergic asthma is a condition triggered by an allergy, usually airborne such as pollen or mold spores. Most days, people with this condition breathe fine but when exposed to a specific trigger, they have an asthma attack.

What causes asthma?

It's unclear why some individuals develop asthma. The most likely answer is a combination of environmental factors and genetics. Sensitivities like these tend to run in families but, for most people, there is certainly an environmental component at play with asthma as well. Specific triggers set off their attacks such as:

  • Airborne substances
  • Cold air
  • Pollutants

Believe it or not, not all asthma triggers are found in the air. The trigger might be hidden in food or a medicine. It might be stress or exercise that sets off the attack, too. At times, patients with mild asthma only have a problem with they get sick.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

The symptoms of asthma and many allergies are very similar. Patients experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • A whistling sound

For people with asthma, these symptoms may be frequent or severe.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

Not all allergies present as respiratory problems, although asthma-like symptoms are common. People with allergies may experience:

  • Skin rashes
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Itching
  • Facial swelling
  • Skin flaking or peeling

A severe allergic reaction can lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis and shock. You may lose consciousness or suddenly be unable to breathe. Anaphylaxis is a true medical emergency that requires immediate care.

Do asthma and allergies always go hand in hand?

No, not everyone with allergies has asthma. Many people with asthma, however, do suffer from allergies, as well.

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