Asthma is usually defined as the inflammation of the airways due to allergies. Your bronchial tubes become inflamed and enlarged. The swelling will make it difficult to breathe, and you will find that you get wheezing. If your asthma gets worse, you may have trouble breathing as well.
When you are dealing with asthma, it is essential to see your doctor regularly to monitor your condition. This is important for keeping your symptoms under control. If you have had an asthma attack, you should check out by a doctor right away. Asthma is usually chronic, so you will most likely develop it again at some point in life. Usually, you will know if you have developed it again. But sometimes, it can take a while before you recognize that it has returned.
While asthma can be managed with medications and other treatments, there are still times where you might need to see a pulmonologist for help. What signs indicate the need for an asthma specialist? Read on to find out!
What are the symptoms of asthma?
As with any asthma condition, the best way to know is if you have symptoms such as coughing or wheezing and persistent airway obstruction. The time it takes a patient to respond to treatment is one of the telltale signs that you may need to see a pulmonologist. Asthma symptoms usually go away within two hours, but if they last for several days or longer, then this could indicate other problems with your respiratory system, and a specialist should be consulted. You can also talk with your doctor about what specific steps might work best for you in these situations.
Shortness of breath
Another sign that points towards an asthma diagnosis are waking up due to shortness of breath at night or during the day not exercising. This indicates airway constriction and inflammation, which are both features of asthma and will require further investigation by medical professionals.
Some conditions cause your lungs to become inflamed. The situation that many people have is emphysema. The fluid in your lungs changes in size and can put extra pressure on the walls of the tubes. An asthma attack may happen suddenly or for no apparent reason at all.
The other symptom typically seen is chest tightness or pain when breathing due to spasms of the muscles around the rib cage. You might experience these symptoms more often at night because this time provides less stimulation than daytime hours where there’s increased activity going on in the home and outdoors. Wheezing after physical activity, a feeling of tightness in the chest after physical activity, and difficulty breathing are common indications that you may need to see a pulmonologist for asthma.
Coughing up phlegm
Your doctor may also tell you that your lungs make extra mucus during an attack which can be challenging for them to get rid of since they cannot breathe deeply enough to cough it out. Physical symptoms such as coughing up phlegm or blood are more alarming indicators than others which should be taken seriously and investigated by your physician.
If you notice that your asthma is causing your bronchial tubes to become inflamed, you should contact your pulmonologist right away. Inflamed bronchioles may be swollen, sore and you may even notice a change in the way you breathe. It is essential to get the treatment you need before too late.
How is it diagnosed?
One of the things that your pulmonologist will be looking at when they check you up is how well your breathing is regulated. This is very important for people with asthma. They know how to make sure that you get enough air into your lungs. They know what to look for in terms of inflammation and how to treat it. There are a lot of other things that a pulmonologist can do to help you through.
One thing is to determine the level of functioning of your lung tissue. Your lungs are made up of tissue that needs to work correctly to pump air in and out of your body. The more efficient your lungs are functioning, the easier it is for you to breathe. The less efficiently, the more trouble you can have breathing. That’s why your doctor will likely test your lung function to determine whether or not you should get asthma medication.
When you go to the pulmonologist, they will also check for evidence of fluid in the lungs. They can also do other tests to discover if your asthma is causing you problems. You might even find out about any previous issues your lungs have had. This is information that could save your life.
Pulmonary specialists can diagnose asthma through an evaluation process, including spirometry (a test where airflow is measured), peak expiratory flows at five minutes (PEF), bronchodilation testing, and pulmonary function tests. These will determine if there are any risk factors involved with asthmatic conditions like heart disease or COPD.
The pulmonologist often performs pulmonary function tests (PFTs), or lung function tests to assess your lungs’ ability to inflate and deflate, as well as how much air you can inhale and exhale in one breath. PFTs measure how quickly you can blow out air from your lungs or how long it takes for you to take a deep breath and calculate what percentage of oxygen is in your blood compared with total hemoglobin levels, which determines whether there’s too little oxygen circulating through your body.
A pulmonary specialist may be required if there are any risk factors involved with asthmatic conditions like heart disease or COPD. After a diagnosis of asthma, the physician will discuss creating an individualized asthma plan that best suits your needs and lifestyle! It’s important to note that only about 30% of people diagnosed with asthma also have a lung disease, including emphysema or chronic bronchitis, which requires additional care from other health professionals like a respiratory therapist.
Pulmonologists have the skills and expertise to identify the cause of your asthma. They can treat the actual inflammation in your lungs. They may also prescribe medicines that will help you breathe easier. You don’t want to have chronic problems breathing. It would be best if you took whatever steps you can to make sure you are as healthy as possible.
What are the treatments for asthma?
The treatment your pulmonologist gives you will help to get relief from your symptoms. In the early stages, it’s often easy to control asthma attacks and symptoms with over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and bronchodilators.
There are many different kinds of medicine that your doctor can give you for your asthma. You can get relief from your symptoms by using an inhaler. In more severe cases, your doctor might prescribe medication, which may include oral steroids or inhaled corticosteroids to put your lungs back into shape, and you will need to go through a surgical procedure to remove the bronchial tubes. The surgery is quick and painless, and after the operation, you will need to have continuous maintenance treatments to keep your lungs in good shape.
The other form of treatment is called “bronchial thermoplasty” for those eligible by strict requirements that a pulmonologist can discuss with you during an appointment if they feel this procedure would best suit your needs. This type of treatment involves heating part of the lungs to help reduce inflammation to improve breathing quality.
There is no cure for asthma, but you can control it in some way. Your doctor will give you the best treatment based on the tests he or she has done. Your lungs are your lifeline. If they become inflamed because of your asthma, it can cause many more problems than just limited breathing. It would help if you worked with your pulmonologist to determine the best course of treatment. Make sure your lungs are strong so you can fight off infections as well.