Each year millions of people are diagnosed with asthma, and while it often first presents in childhood, asthma can develop at any point during a person's lifetime. When asthma develops in adulthood, signs and symptoms are easily missed.
At Riviera Allergy Medical Center, allergy and immunology specialist Ulrike Ziegner, MD, diagnoses and treats a full spectrum of allergic diseases. Asthma is a long-term, chronic lung disease characterized by lung inflammation, that might cause recurrent attacks.
Most people with asthma live normal, active lives. Whether your asthma developed during childhood or adulthood, it's important to have an asthma specialist as part of your care team to help keep your asthma well-managed.
You should know about some of the most common signs of asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a lung disease that requires lifelong management. It can also be life-threatening, and while there is no cure, you can live a long, healthy life with appropriate treatment.
Asthma causes the airways to narrow and swell, which makes it difficult to move air as you breathe. This leads to classic symptoms known as an asthma attack.
For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance that has little impact on their daily life. For others, asthma requires careful and close management to keep you healthy and avoid complications.
Although many people think of asthma as a childhood disease, 20 million adults have adult onset of asthma. The disease is often underdiagnosed in adulthood, making it vital to spot the clues.
Additionally, adult-onset asthma is associated with a higher complication rate than asthma that develops in childhood. This makes it crucial to work closely with an asthma specialist to keep your asthma well-controlled. Any delays in diagnosis and treatment may result in impaired lung function.
Common asthma symptoms
Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person in presentation and severity. Classic symptoms of asthma include:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Shortness of breath or labored breathing
- Dry cough
- Trouble sleeping
Early symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath when performing activities such as singing, or during physical exertion. Coughing at night that disturbs sleep is also linked to early warning signs of asthma.
For some people, asthma flare-ups occur as a result of allergies; in others, emotions, weather changes or exercise triggers asthma symptoms. It can be helpful to keep a log of your symptoms and potential triggers to discuss with Dr. Ziegner.
How is asthma treated?
To keep your asthma well-controlled, Dr. Ziegner creates an individualized treatment plan. Your action plan tells you step-by-step what to do in the event your asthma worsens.
Asthma management plans generally involve taking maintenance medication to lower the frequency of asthma attacks, as well as quick-acting medication to use when sudden attacks occur.
Top-quality asthma management
Well-managed asthma can make all the difference in how you feel and function day-to-day. Whether you have an asthma diagnosis and are seeking better control of your asthma, or you suspect that you may have asthma, we can help.
To get started, call 310-504-3242 to schedule a visit with Dr. Ziegner.