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Symptoms and Treatment Options for Asthma

Symptoms and Treatment Options for Asthma

Respiratory Therapist Shares Expertise in Online Seminar

Do you find yourself breathing harder when you go on your daily walk? Or find the run you used to do easily is now difficult? Are you having to stop to catch your breath when climbing stairs or playing sports with your children or grandchildren? How about realizing you are short of breath more often in certain seasons?

These are all signs of breathing difficulties that may be caused by asthma, according to Washington Hospital’s Ryan Croft, a registered respiratory therapist. Croft will explain the signs and causes of asthma along with treatment options at a virtual Washington Hospital Health & Wellness seminar — “Breathe Easy: Managing Asthma” — at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

This event can be watched live on Facebook and YouTube. To view on Facebook, sign in to your account and then go to facebook.com/WashingtonHosp. Watching on YouTube does not require an account. Simply go to YouTube.com/whhsInHealth.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects the airways that carry air in and out of your lungs. The airways become inflamed and tighten or narrow, affecting breathing. Asthma symptoms include episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, tightness of the chest, and coughing, particularly at nighttime or early in the morning, Croft explains. But, he adds, asthma can be managed by medication and identifying triggers that cause an attack.

“The most important thing to do about asthma is to recognize that you may have it and then reach out to your doctor about what to do next,” Croft says. “You may blame the shortness of breath on aging, weight gain, or lack of regular exercise, but it can often be caused by asthma.”

Croft will explain how to recognize asthma symptoms. He says anyone who notices shortness of breath, wheezing or other similar symptoms should go see a doctor to have the symptoms checked out. It’s important to be diagnosed promptly and then begin treatment, because severe asthma can be life-threatening.

According to the Mayo Clinic, adult-onset asthma is caused by some type of allergen, such as mold, dust mites or even pets. As many as 30 percent of all adult-onset asthma cases are associated with allergies. Other cases may be triggered by irritants within a home or work environment.

At the seminar, Croft will explore the typical asthma triggers and explain treatment options, as well as discuss lifestyle adjustments that may help patients manage symptoms. A common treatment is a rescue inhaler which helps open up the airways, making breathing easier for the person suffering an attack. Croft notes that support groups such as the Better Breathers Club at Washington Hospital help patients manage chronic lung disease, and many places throughout the Bay Area offer support and information on identifying and managing asthma.

For most asthma patients, the disease can be managed. Keys are early detection, medical treatment and understanding what triggers asthma for each individual. “Pay attention to your body and recognize what has changed from perhaps what used to be typical.” Croft adds, “Don’t ignore breathing issues; go to a doctor and be checked. If you have developed asthma, the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to get your symptoms under control.”

For more information about Washington Hospital’s outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program and the Better Breathers support group, visit whhs.com/PulmonaryReHab.