Asthma can be an embarrassing condition for many. You might find yourself struggling to walk alongside friends or coworkers. Or you might have trouble holding a conversation without constantly coughing. Especially for young patients with asthma, having to slow down can be discouraging.
Some asthma patients have dealt with symptoms for so long, they just accept them as normal. Or they simply dismiss symptoms as a cold. However, if you’re having long-term issues with breathing or coughing, it’s important to see a doctor for an evaluation.
“Asthma is a serious medical condition that, if left untreated can cause worsening symptoms, chronic inflammation, scarring in the lungs – and in severe cases – can lead to death,” said Dr. Gorby Leon, medical director for Atrium Health Navicent Primary Care Fort Valley and a physician at Atrium Health Navicent Primary Care Family Medicine Byron and Atrium Health Navicent Peach. “With treatment, most patients can live active lives with few limitations.”
May is National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, a time when the community is asked to raise awareness about the conditions which affect more than 100 million people in the United States, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Asthma Symptoms and Testing
The most common symptoms of asthma include:
Shortness of breath
Wheezing, especially while lying flat in bed
A sensation of tightness or pressure around the chest when taking a deep breath
Allergy symptoms, including runny nose and throat drainage
When several of these symptoms happen at once, it can make an accurate diagnosis challenging.
The gold standard for asthma testing is a pulmonary function test. This painless assessment measures the patient’s lung volume to see if the airway is sensitive to the medication used to treat asthma. If the patient’s airway responds to the medication, it suggests that the patient has asthma.
Environmental triggers and allergies are known to make asthma symptoms worse.
Most asthma patients start by seeing their primary care doctor. If the patient still has trouble controlling their symptoms with an inhaler regimen, the doctor can request a referral to a specialist.
Atrium Health Navicent offers primary care for everyone, at every age. Offices are located close to home in Baldwin, Bibb, Monroe and Peach counties.
To find a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”