Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes swelling, mucus and muscle tightening inside or around your airways. When this happens, it makes it hard for you to breathe. If you have asthma, you may experience wheezing, chest tightness, coughing (especially at night) and struggling to breathe.
According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, 9.2% of adults and children in South Carolina have asthma. There is no cure for asthma, but with proper medical care and lifestyle changes, you and your doctor can control and manage it.
Common Asthma Triggers
One or all of the following triggers can cause asthma attacks:
- Allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, cockroaches, molds and animal dander
- Extreme weather conditions
- Irritants in the air, such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes and strong odors
- Medications, such as aspirin and acetaminophen
When to See a Pulmonologist
Your primary care provider may refer you to an AnMed pulmonary specialist to help manage your asthma. Pulmonologists are doctors who treat lung conditions and respiratory illnesses. We treat adults 18 years and older.
Expect your care team to ask about your medical history, symptoms and how often you use an inhaler. You may need pulmonary function tests like spirometry to confirm your asthma diagnosis.
Asthma Management & Treatment
Living with asthma is easier thanks to new technology and treatment options at AnMed. Work with our lung and respiratory care team and doctors to reduce symptoms and better control your asthma with a personalized treatment plan. Your plan may recommend new treatments or adjust existing treatments. Your treatments may include:
- Asthma action plan to know what to do when symptoms start or you have an attack
- Asthma education, support and resources
- Coping strategies for living with asthma
- Emergency treatment for asthma attacks
- Inhalers and nebulizers
- Lifestyle changes to manage asthma
- Pulmonary rehabilitation, depending on the severity of your asthma
- Rescue and control medications
- Strategies to prevent asthma attacks
AnMed was the first in the Upstate to offer bronchial thermoplasty, an outpatient procedure to treat severe, persistent adult asthma poorly controlled with medication.
If you have asthma, the smooth muscle surrounding your lung airway passages is more vulnerable to irritants that can narrow airways and cause breathing problems. Bronchial thermoplasty uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle so it can’t tighten and constrict the airways. That results in fewer asthma attacks and better symptom control.
Ask your doctor if you may be a candidate for bronchial thermoplasty.
Biologic Therapy for Severe Asthma
If you still have problems controlling your asthma symptoms with inhaler medications, your doctor may recommend adding a new, injectable biologic medication. Biologic therapies target different molecules in the body to prevent asthma symptoms. Some biologics suppress asthma antibodies, and others treat the buildup of certain white blood cells in your lungs that cause inflammation.
Talk to Your Doctor
Ask your doctor for a referral to a pulmonologist at AnMed for asthma care—and start breathing better.