If you have asthma, your airways are always somewhat inflamed. However, when something triggers your symptoms, your airways become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten. This makes it more difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness.
For many asthma sufferers, these symptoms are usually related to physical activity, and healthy people can even develop asthma symptoms only when exercising. Staying active is an important way to stay healthy, so asthma shouldn't keep you on the sidelines. Your physician can develop a management plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during and after physical activity.

Kinds of asthma

There are several kinds of asthma:

  • Asthma that flares up during or after physical activity is called exercise-induced asthma (EIA) or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB).
  • People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. Many people with asthma also have allergies. This is called allergic asthma.
  • Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while on the job.
  • Childhood asthma impacts millions of children and their families. The majority of children who develop childhood asthma do so before the age of five.

There is no cure for asthma. Even when you feel fine, you still have the disease and it can flare up at any time.
However, once it is properly diagnosed and you and your doctor arrive at a treatment plan, you will be able to manage your asthma and your quality of life will improve.

How asthma is treated

St. Charles Pulmonary Clinic providers offer quality treatment for Central Oregon patients with asthma. The St. Charles Pulmonary Clinic is the largest, most well-established respiratory care clinic east of the Cascades, and our pulmonologists are committed to helping patients live fuller, more active lives.

An allergist/immunologist is the best qualified physician in diagnosing and treating asthma. With the help of your allergist, you can take control of your condition and participate in normal activities.

Sometimes asthma symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with asthma medication. Other times, symptoms continue to get worse.

When symptoms get more intense and/or more symptoms occur, you're having an asthma attack. Asthma attacks also are called flare-ups or exacerbations.

It is key to treat your asthma symptoms when you first notice them. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.

Asthma is treated with two types of medicines: long-term control and quick-relief medicines. Long-term control medicines help reduce airway inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms. Quick-relief, or "rescue," medicines relieve asthma symptoms that may flare up.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 541-706-5860 today.

From allergy tests to medication prescription to life-style advice, St. Charles Health System offers patients a wide range of pulmonary services in Central Oregon.