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Comprehensive Pulmonary

Pulmonologist located in Bakersfield, CA

If you have a cough that won’t go away or seem unable to catch your breath and find breathing difficult, you may have asthma. This lung disease can range in severity from a minor nuisance to life-threatening condition. Triple board-certified pulmonologist Alpha J. Anders, MD, FCCP, manages asthma and other chronic respiratory disorders at Comprehensive Pulmonary Care in Bakersfield, California. For individualized care in asthma treatment, including sleep and oxygen testing, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a lifelong (chronic) condition that involves inflammation of the airways in your lungs. When you have asthma, these airways are always inflamed and narrowed. However, they can become even more constricted and produce excess mucus when you encounter a substance that triggers your particular symptoms.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

As your body struggles to move air into and out of your lungs, asthma may cause difficulty breathing as well as a host of other respiratory symptoms, such as coughing. Periods of worsened asthma symptoms are called asthma attacks.

Signs and symptoms of an asthma attack can vary from person to person. However, common asthma symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing attacks
  • Tightness or pain in your chest
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling

Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath may make it difficult to sleep at night.

What causes asthma?

Often, asthma flare-ups, or attacks, occur in response to one or more triggers. Common asthma triggers include:

  • Exercise, especially in cold, dry weather
  • Occupational irritants such as chemical fumes or smoke
  • Respiratory infections such as the common cold

Asthma attacks may also be an allergic response to a particular substance. Common allergens that cause asthma symptoms include pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.

Dr. Anders helps identify the specific triggers that cause your asthma symptoms to worsen so you can take steps to avoid them in daily life.

How is asthma diagnosed and treated?

First, Dr. Anders thoroughly reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam. He will perform a breathing test such as spirometry to measure your lung function.

Spirometry is a test for asthma that involves blowing into a special instrument. This instrument measures the amount of air your lungs hold, as well as how quickly your breath flows. He may also perform allergy testing to identify the allergens that trigger your asthma symptoms.

Asthma isn’t curable, but Dr. Anders works with you to create an individualized treatment plan that controls your symptoms. Depending on your needs, asthma treatment may include:

  • Avoid and living with known triggers
  • Using an asthma inhaler
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medicines

With close monitoring and proper care of your asthma, Dr. Anders helps you enjoy a healthy, happy life. On the rare occasions when your asthma becomes severe, he can recommend and assist you in the hospital to add that special touch of continuity to your asthma care both in and out of the hospital.

If you suspect you or a loved one may have asthma, don’t hesitate to call Comprehensive Pulmonary Care or schedule an appointment online today.