Asthma Diagnosis & Treatment in NYC
An estimated 25 million children and adults suffer from asthma in the United States, a number that has quadrupled over the last two decades. In fact, 1 in 13 people have asthma and asthma is the leading chronic disease in children.
That’s mind-boggling, especially since experts haven’t teased out exactly what’s causing the rise, and few sufferers take measures to try to prevent attacks. The leading causes of asthma are reactions to allergens such as pet dander, pollen, mold, and foods. It’s important to consult a doctor who specializes in asthma as other conditions, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, can masquerade as asthma. At Mitchell Medical Group we use a detailed guide to know whether a person’s asthma is authentic.
When you have asthma, the bronchial airways in your lungs become inflamed and hypersensitive. During an asthma attack, the muscles around these airways tighten, causing them to narrow, even more, making it difficult to breathe. Rescue inhalers provide temporary asthma relief.
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing (a whistling sound)
- Dry cough that lasts more than a week
The most common asthma triggers:
- Pet Dander
- Food allergies
- Tobacco smoke: Second-hand smoke can exacerbate airway diseases, like pediatric sinusitis and asthma in children.
- Dust Mites
I feel very strongly that for many people, asthma attacks are caused by underlying allergies and therefore are completely preventable. About 90 percent of asthma in children—and about 50 to 60 percent of adults—is caused by underlying allergies that contribute to their asthma attacks. Studies have shown that most children who have to go to the emergency room for an asthma attack have allergies—often undetected allergies to dust, pet dander, mold and even to foods.
What You Can Do
To reduce asthma attacks, diagnose for potential allergies, reduce your exposure to these allergens, or be treated with an effective allergy remedy such as allergy drops to build up a tolerance to the allergens. When I treat my patients with drops, I see a dramatic decrease in the amount of medication they use, including asthma inhalers and beta agonists like albuterol (Ventolin).
We use a simple blood test to determine exactly what you are allergic to and prescribe the right formula of drops for you. Contact us today and get treated the easy, convenient, effective and painless way.
One of my main goals in treating asthma is finding out if allergies are contributing to its cause. Once we determine the cause, it’s so much easier to prevent and treat.
The Niox Flex Test and Spirometry breathing tests can only be done in a doctor’s office.
Tests You Can Do at Home to Assess Your Asthma
Peak Flow Monitors
Peak flow monitors are an inexpensive handheld device that can measure how fast air moves out of your lungs. You blow forcefully into the device and it provides a number that represents your peak flow. It is very helpful in managing your symptoms, your medication and in preventing an asthma attack. In my book, Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution, I have a template for an asthma zone grid, which helps patients distinguish between the excellent zone, careful zone, and danger zone, depending on their peak flow results. I teach my patients how to set up their asthma zone grid, and we discuss how they should manage their medications, depending on which zone they’re in. This is so important because it allows patients to safely adjust their medication without having to depend on their doctor every minute. Ask your doctor or our office for an Asthma Zone Grid, it should be part of your asthma program.
Asthma Control Test
The great news about this test is that no needles or blowing is involved. This is a written test, or you can do it easily online. You answer five questions about your asthma, rating your symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. A score below 19 can mean your asthma is not under control.
To get more information and to get tested, contact us today.
Asthma medications are continuing to rise and it can pose a real hardship to families who have sufferers.
Today’s asthma medications are effective at controlling asthma if they are taken regularly; however, these medications only control the disease, they do not reverse the disease. The escalation in the cost of asthma drugs is very clear from looking at the cost of the most common asthma inhaler: albuterol. Albuterol is a beta-agonist medication that immediately opens up the airways that are in spasm during an asthma attack.
Years ago an albuterol inhaler cost $15. Today the new HFA versions (which do not release gases that damage the environment or your lungs) are between $50 and $100.
Another medication (which is used more specifically for chronic asthma) is inhaled cortisone. Medical research has shown that asthma has an inflammatory component that causes the airways to stay inflamed and in spasm. In the past, oral cortisone was used to control the inflammation, but it had too many side-effects: weight gain, elevated blood pressure and bone-thinning (osteoporosis). The inhaled cortisones are safer but still carry some long-term concerns. Again, they are “controller” medications, and they do not reverse asthma permanently. The cost of inhaled cortisone, such as Pulmicort, can be $175 or more.
It is now widely agreed among asthma experts that allergic triggers are a big factor in setting off allergic inflammation. So, how can allergic inflammation be tamed long-term?
Using Allergy Drops to Treat Asthma
Allergy drops are safe, effective and a great treatment option for asthma sufferers that can get to the underlying cause of asthma – not just treat the symptoms.
Allergen immunotherapy has been around for decades and been shown in recent studies to prevent and reverse asthma. At Mitchell Medical Group, we have been using sublingual allergy immunotherapy (also called allergy drops) for over 15 years with excellent success. Success to us means that patients are relieved of symptoms and that they either have decreased use of these expensive medications or don’t need them at all!
Sublingual allergy immunotherapy targets the allergens that children and adults commonly encounter in daily life: dust mites, mold, pollen and unfortunately those lovable animals (I mean cats and dogs, not reptiles) that so many have as pets.
Do Antibiotics Cause Asthma?
According to the theory called “The Hygiene Hypothesis” frequent doses of antibiotics in children can alter the immune system away from fighting infections and direct the immune system to go in the direction of allergic inflammation. This can result in a greater incidence of allergic conditions, such as asthma, skin allergies and nasal diseases.
In the American Journal of Epidemiology on December 29th, 2010, researchers at the Yale Public School of Health studied 1401 children between the years 2003 and 2007. They found that children with early antibiotic exposure had an increased risk for asthma – even in children where there was no family history of asthma.
The main recommendation of the researchers is a more “judicious use of antibiotics in infants, especially the broader spectrum antibiotics.” This makes sense. Of course, all parents are distraught when their child is sick, especially with ear infections that can be extremely painful. However, in many cases, the cause is viral and the antibiotics are not truly effective. If your child suffers from repeated colds and coughing, it’s advised to schedule a consultation. In many cases, your child may be developing these symptoms due to allergies. We can help build up their immune system to make it more resistant to developing chronic symptoms.