Diagnosing asthma is not something you can do by yourself. It requires a visit to your physician or pulmonologist to determine for sure, but there are symptoms of asthma that you should be aware of. And if you do experience these asthma symptoms, you should check in with your physician.
Asthma Symptoms You Should Know
Asthma is not just difficulty breathing, although chronic shortness of breath is certainly a symptom of asthma. More common symptoms include wheezing or whistling when you breathe, experiencing tightness in your chest, trouble taking a breath, and coughing, particularly when you are laughing, exercising, and at night.
What Do I Do If I’m Experiencing Asthma Symptoms?
Because these symptoms can also occur with other disorders and illnesses, such as bronchitis or heart disease, you should see a doctor to determine what exactly is causing your symptoms. If you feel like you cannot catch your breath at all, you should treat it as an emergency and get to your local ER.
What Triggers Asthma?
Here in New York, because of our high levels of humidity and days of bad air quality, you may notice symptoms more severely. Extreme weather conditions (high heat, extreme cold, high humidity), pollutants, allergens (pollen and pet dander, for example), and exposure to chemicals can all trigger an asthma attack. Even an emotional response like anxiety or fear, which cause rapid, shallow breathing, can trigger an asthma attack.
How Is Asthma Diagnosed?
Your physician will take a complete medical history from you and use that along with an evaluation of your symptoms to diagnose asthma. According to the Lung Association, asthma is now diagnosed based on the inherent cause, including:
- Allergic asthma
- Aspirin-induced asthma
- Cough-variant asthma
- Exercise-induced asthma
- Nighttime asthma
- Steroid-resistant asthma
- Occupational asthma
There are a variety of treatments for asthma, from behavior therapy to inhalers to medicine. Dr. Marc Bowen uses nitric oxide monitoring to diagnose asthma and has specialized treatments, including bronchial thermoplasty for patients who are not responding to standard treatment.
If you believe you are suffering with asthma or have asthma that is not sufficiently controlled with medication, please contact our office to schedule an evaluation.