Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways in the lungs. These airways are also known as bronchial tubes. In the case of asthma, chronic means that it never goes away. Asthma can be very serious. There is increasing evidence that, if left untreated or improperly treated, asthma may cause a long-term decline in lung function.
Asthma is one disease that has two main components occurring deep within the airways of the lungs:
- Airway Constriction occurs when the muscles around the airways in the lungs begin to squeeze or tighten. This is called “bronchoconstriction or bronchospasm,” and can make it hard to breathe air in and out of the lungs.
- Airway Inflammation is when the airways of the lungs are inflamed and become swollen and irritated. Inflammation can reduce the amount of air that you can breathe in and out of your lungs. In some cases, the mucus glands in the airways produce excessive, thick mucus, further obstructing the airways.
- Airway constriction and inflammation together cause narrowing of the airways which can result in wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. In people with asthma, the airways can be inflamed even when there are no symptoms present.
We at Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists of Northeast Georgia take a root cause analysis approach evaluating and managing asthma patients. We complete the appropriate due diligence based on each patient’s specific story and symptoms. First, we confirm the diagnosis of asthma and make sure it is not another condition mimicking asthma such as bronchiectasis, COPD or an overlap of symptoms. Second, we dig deep to get to the bottom of the cause and phenotype of the asthma, i.e. atopic (allergic), eosinophilic, intrinsic, gene related, etc. We then tailor the treatment regimen accordingly. When needed, we utilize the newest biological medications to control refractory asthma. We also don’t hesitate to step down therapy and cut down on medications when appropriate.