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Asthma

Asthma is characterized by intermittent or "on and off" irritation and spasm of the bronchial airways which can include one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Tight feeling in chest

asthma sleep and respiratory institute nj

These symptoms are usually variable and fluctuating in severity. There are many different triggers for asthma, and individuals may be affected by one or several. These triggers can include various allergies (allergic asthma), seasonal changes (seasonal asthma), exposure to cold air (cold induced asthma), exercise (exercise induced asthma), diurnal and nighttime changes (nocturnal asthma), asthma related to exposure to fumes, chemicals, dust, or mold at work (occupational asthma). Asthma can begin at any age and may first present itself in children and older adults. In an individual with asthma, depending on severity and frequency of asthma symptoms, the following classifications may be applied:

  • Mild intermittent
  • Mild persistent
  • Moderate intermittent
  • Moderate persistent
  • Severe intermittent
  • Severe persistent

Treatment and Management of Asthma

Given the chronic and diverse nature of asthma and the multitude of medications that control the inflammation and spasm of the airways, successful and effective management of asthma requires a thorough education of the patient so that they become partners in their own cure. This includes review and identification of a patient's aggravating and trigger factors, and adjustment of their medications. An important element in a patient's successful self-management plan is the use of the peak flow meter - a simple device that measures the flow of air. With daily measurement of peak flow, a patient can accurately quantify the severity of the air flow obstruction and its day-to-day change. This serves as an invaluable tool in planning and adjusting the management of asthma.

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