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Asthma causes inflammation of the airways that makes it difficult to breathe. With asthma, the lungs are extra sensitive to viruses, allergens, irritants or even stress. When triggered, a flare-up can occur, leading the muscles around airways to contract and making it even harder to breathe.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. The condition varies in severity, from minor symptoms to life-threatening attacks. While there is no cure, with expert care, asthma can be controlled to minimize flare-ups and achieve an optimum quality of life. Management involves both preventing asthma attacks and stopping them when they occur.

The board-certified physicians at Pulmonary Consultants of San Antonio offer comprehensive asthma care from testing to diagnosis to long-term treatment.

Click here to request an appointment or call us at 210-692-0361.

Questions & Answers

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways that move air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the disease is always present, but you may only have symptoms during flare-ups called asthma attacks.

Attacks can last from just a few minutes to several days. Some people have asthma attacks rarely while others experience daily symptoms.

Breathing difficulty is the most common issue with asthma. Many people liken breathing during an asthma attack to trying to breathe through a straw. You may experience wheezing, coughing, and feelings of chest tightness during an asthma attack as well.

Asthma can also significantly lessen your quality of sleep because coughing or struggling to breathe may keep you up at night. That may lead to daytime drowsiness and difficulty functioning during the day as well.

What causes asthma?

The root cause of asthma isn’t certain, but both environmental and genetic factors likely contribute. While the underlying cause of asthma isn’t known, there are many triggers that may set off your asthma attacks. Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Airborne allergens like dust mites, mold, and pollen
  • Airborne irritants like smoke and air pollution
  • Respiratory infections
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Cold air
  • Stress
  • Chemicals in cleaning products, perfumes, soaps, and other products
  • Viruses
  • Sinus infections
  • Acid reflux
  • Certain food additives and preservatives

Most people who have asthma have more than one trigger, so it’s important to notice the circumstances around your asthma attacks. Knowing your triggers can combine with medical treatment to help you manage your attacks in the best way.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Asthma can have symptoms similar to those of emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other lung diseases, so diagnosis usually starts with a physical exam and pulmonary function tests to rule out other conditions and establish asthma as the reason for your symptoms.

You may also need blood tests, X-rays, or other imaging tests to verify the cause of your issues.

How is asthma treated?

Pulmonary Consultants of San Antonio provides comprehensive asthma management, so you’ll receive an asthma management plan that’s best for you.

Asthma management focuses on quickly stopping symptoms during your asthma attacks while preventing as many asthma attacks as possible. Most people need two types of inhaled medication (inhalers).

Controller inhalers
Controller inhalers reduce extra mucus and swelling in your airways, which helps to prevent asthma attacks. You use controller inhalers every day, whether you’re having symptoms or not.

Quick-relief inhalers
Quick-relief inhalers quickly open your air passages when you’re having an asthma attack. You use this type of inhaler only as-needed, at the first sign of an attack.

There are also other innovative methods of treating certain kinds of asthma, for example, biologic medication infusions or injections. The team works with you to find the solution that gives you maximum asthma relief.

10007 Huebner Road, Bldg 4
San Antonio, TX 78240
FAX: 210-692-0151

Monday: 8am-4:30pm
Tuesday: 8am-4:30pm
Wednesday: 8am-4:30pm
Thursday: 8am-4:30pm
Friday: 8am-4:30pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed