Dr. Qaadri

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Asthma and Allergies

ASTHMA
ALLERGIES
Allergy in the Lung
Allergic Airways

THE TWO PROBLEMS OF ASTHMA:

1. Airways tightening or constriction &
2. Airways inflammation or fluid/phlegm build-up

Asthma is extremely common. With asthma people experience a lot of different things. These include a

  • Regular, recurrent cough
  • Wheezing or sounds coming from the chest
  • Getting easily short of breath, like you’re not getting enough oxygen
  • Chest tightness.
  • Congestion of fluid or phlegm or crud in their chests.

ALLERGIES
ALLERGY TRIGGERS OF ASTHMA
SINUSITIS

Another very important part of Asthma is that many people have allergies that set them off, that bring on the asthma symptoms of cough, congestion and wheezing. Common allergies include

  • Being sensitive to cat and pet hair
  • To dust
  • To the pollens of grasses, trees, flowers.
  • To reacting to strong perfumes or industrial chemicals.
  • Ragweed, most particularly during the summer months, is usually the most problem-causing allergy trigger.

Air quality and the environment are now getting the attention they deserve:

  • Smog
  • Car fumes
  • Factory smoke
  • Second-hand smoke,
  • First-hand smoke

all these together pollute our breathable environment and lead to considerable medical problems.

These inhaled or breathed in allergies are often associated with Sinusitis, which means a long standing congestion, even infection, of the Sinuses, the air spaces in the head. People with Sinusitis may be the ones who have difficult summers, who

  • React to weather changes
  • Frequently sneezE
  • Have itchy eyes
  • Runny noses
  • Frontal headaches.

When patients say, “You know, doctor, I have had a head cold for a month,” IT’S NOT A COLD. IT’S SINUSITIS, usually caused by allergies.

SOFT SIGNS OF ASTHMA

Asthma can also be subtle, soft in nature. People may experience problems breathing

  • Only when they exercise or exert themselves.
  • Another soft and subtle sign of asthma is waking up regularly with a nighttime cough.
  • Some people only experience a chronic, forever-cough.

MISSED ASTHMA
UNDIAGNOSED ASTHMA

What is unfortunate is that Asthma is increasing greatly, especially in children. One of the problems is that doctors sometimes don’t pick up, don’t correctly diagnose, that that young patient who is coming in for more and more antibiotics, because of more and more throat or chest infections, may in fact have asthma.

Not treating your asthma can not only interfere with you life, but it can be dangerous. It also leads to longterm ongoing lung damage.

To treat Asthma, one must treat both processes

THE TWO PROBLEMS OF ASTHMA:

1. Airways tightening or constriction &
2. Airways inflammation or fluid/phlegm build-up

USE PUFFERS THE RIGHT WAY

It is important that not only be given the puffers that are right for you, but also that you be taught how to use the puffers correctly. This is one of the big challenges that doctors face. We prescribe the right medication, but people are not very skilled at using the puffers and various devices. It is important for a doctor to watch how you use your puffers every so often, as there are always suggestions and ways to improve.

OVERUSE OF THE BRONCHODILATOR
OVERUSE OF VENTOLIN

The other problem is that people overuse the blue puffer, the Ventolin, that only makes them feel better temporarily. Ventolin immediately opens up the airways, so people respond quickly, and feel better. BUT, the underlying process, the disease in the lungs, the inflammation plugging up the chest with crud—that all continues. So DO NOT OVERUSE the blue Ventolin puffer.

ALLERGIES
NASAL CONGESTION
SINUSITIS
SNEEZING

We all breathe about 16 to 20 times a minute—it’s important, not only for the body to function, but for us to have appropriate energy. Don’t shortchange your breathing. Avoid asthma attacks and avoid having to get hospitalized for it.

Asthma can be controlled well, and asthma patients can lead full, energetic and productive lives.

Dr. Shafiq Qaadri is a Toronto family physician and Continuing Medical Education lecturer.  www.doctorQ.ca

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