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Disease & Conditions >>> Asthma Articles & News

What To Do If You Suspect You Might Have Asthma

It could be that you're coughing or wheezing a lot when you're around a friend's perfume or one of your children keep getting frequent colds that seem to last forever. Wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and noisy breathing are all signs of asthma. Being aware of asthma's symptoms can help get you started in the right direction. The earlier symptoms are controlled the better overall health you'll have.

Children get lots of colds and the younger the child the more colds they seem to catch. Colds typically last about seven to ten days. If you or your child's colds last longer than that and there's a persistent cough, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath, asthma could be the cause. Infants, due to their small airways, can produce wheezing and still not have asthma especially when they have a cold or other upper respiratory infection.

Adult onset asthma can be brought on by many causes such as occupation, allergies, respiratory infection, and exposure to pollutants to just name a few.

Where a child's asthma is often related to allergies adult asthma is more likely due to external factors like pollution. Adult asthma is also associated with more rapid loss of lung function similar to diseases grouped as COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This fact is extremely important since the early intervention is helpful in slowing the disease process.

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Obviously, if asthma is suspected you should consult with your family physician as soon as possible. Even though most general practice physicians don't have the specialized instruments needed for a definitive diagnosis, they do have the skills needed to say whether a referral to a pulmonologist or allergist is appropriate. The final word in getting a diagnosis of asthma should come from a specialist.

An asthma specialist can determine if what you're suffering from is asthma or another type of respiratory ailment. There are a number of other disease which can mimic asthma symptoms. Some of the more common asthma mimics include acute and chronic bronchitis, vocal cord dysfunction, cardiac asthma, cystic fibrosis, and immotile cilia syndrome just to mention a few. Anything which causes an obstruction or restriction in the upper airways can cause coughing and wheezing even foreign objects and tumors.

Anything which causes breathing problems should be considered a serious health problem. Breathing problems need to be treated by a physician. With approximately 5000 deaths a year attributed to asthma in the United States, asthma is not something to be taken lightly.

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