Take Control: World Asthma Day - myfoxcarolinas.com

Take Control: World Asthma Day

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Take Control of Your Asthma Take Control of Your Asthma
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Charlotte, NC -

It’s a condition that affects every demographic, and crosses state and country borders. A disease that affects 300 million people worldwide-asthma.

In the United States alone, 26 million people have asthma. Of those 26 million, 7 million are children.

What is asthma? It’s a chronic disease of the respiratory system. The muscles around the airways in the lungs tighten and the bronchial tubes become inflamed.

Air then has a difficult time traveling in the airways and patients have attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing.

May is Asthma Awareness Month, and the first Tuesday in May is known globally as World Asthma Day. But for those living with asthma, every day of their lives is asthma day.

Alex Mash has suffered from asthma since she was a child. She is not alone; asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases seen in children.

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve had asthma. Maybe six years old I started having symptoms. Running around a lot with my friends, or when I got sick, I’d have a lot of trouble breathing. And I spent a lot of time at doctor’s offices.”

Dr. Sanjay Khiani, of Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care, sees many patients, just like Alex, come through his office. It’s something experienced by many in the South.

“What’s unique about Charlotte is that it’s got beautiful trees and greenery. With that comes allergies, which typically affect patients in the spring, summer and fall. Sometimes it’s difficult for patients to realize that a cough by itself could be a sign of asthma. Seventy percent of patients also have asthma and allergies.”

And while sometimes you may have a lapse in your symptoms, if you have asthma, you have it all the time. There are ways to mitigate the condition and take control.

“The goal of asthma is to control your lung function and your symptoms. Typically it is done with medication that you may have to take every day, and at times when there is a flare, take medications on as need basis.”

Alex has some advice for those with asthma, “Always being aware of how you are feeling and carrying your inhaler around helps if you do feel short of breath. And just talking to your doctor if you get sick. Your doctor knowing your asthma history just helps a lot. ”

Because when it comes down to it, you know your body and how it reacts to triggers better than anyone else.

If you have chronic coughing, consider heading to your local doctor to get tested. There are several ways to find out if you are suffering from asthma. A peak flow meter and a lung function test are just a few tests out there.

A peak flow meter essentially demonstrates how well your lungs are working by measuring how fast you can blow out air out of your lungs. Essentially you can use the device to discover your lung performance patterns.

“If you’re having coughs and you’re wondering if it’s coming from the allergy perspective or the asthma perspective, if you do a peak flow meter and your numbers are lower, it could be a sign that your lungs are not controlled,” says Dr. Khiani.

A lung function test is also an important step in testing. For the lung function test, a patient takes a deep breath in, exhales in a hard and fast manner, and then takes a deep breath in. The tests are then analyzed to determine if the patient has normal lung function.

The risk of asthma can be from family history as well as environmental exposure. If you are having difficulty breathing or have a shortness of breath, take a moment to head to the doctor.

We may all not be immune from asthma, but actions can be taken to mitigate the symptoms. Please don’t wait until it is too late. Ensure that you and your loved ones can breathe easy.

Find out the pollen levels here

Read Dr. Khiani's blog

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