NYACK, N.Y. -- Not all asthma is created equal. For those dealing with symptoms, even though they are taking medication, a different treatment may be in order. In most cases, there is little reason why anyone with treated asthma should not be able to live a fully active life.
In many cases, I find patients with asthma who continue to have problems with symptoms -- such as a cough, wheezing and shortness of breath that won’t go away -- to have sinusitis. Often, they develop inflammation of the sinuses a week or more after a cold.
Other people who have trouble with asthma symptoms may have allergic asthma, which is often due to high levels of antibodies called immunoglobulin E, which are produced by the immune system. Thanks to specific targeting drugs, some patients say that after treatment it's almost as if they don’t have asthma anymore.
Many patients' persistent asthma can be well controlled with medications like Advair, Symbicort, Dulera and Breo. These anti-inflammatory medicines reduce swelling and mucus production inside the airways, making it easier to breathe. When the lungs are irritated, bands of muscle around the airways tighten, making the airways narrower, resulting in breathlessness.
The key to getting the right treatment is to find a physician who will consider all of the possible reasons your asthma isn’t well controlled. Not all asthma is the same. You should expect your doctor to do the legwork to go through all the possibilities, in order to match you up with the best treatment.
Dr. David Hodes practices at Palisades Pulmonary in West Nyack, a member of Highland Medical and an affiliate of Nyack Hospital.