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Asthma Specialist

Thirlby Clinic, PLC

Internal Medicine & Family Medicine located in Traverse City, MI

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease affecting more than 15% of Michigan residents. Fortunately, careful asthma management can help you live a healthy life without constant breathing problems. At Thirlby Clinic, PLC, in Traverse City, Michigan, the team of asthma experts prescribes a personalized care plan to achieve and maintain good health. Call the office or book your appointment using online scheduling today.

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory illness. If you have asthma, you can usually breathe without laboring but sometimes experience asthma attacks where the bronchial tubes in your lungs narrow. This limits your air significantly and makes it very hard to breathe. 

What are the signs of an asthma attack? 

The main symptom of an asthma attack is difficulty breathing. It can feel like trying to breathe through a straw, or even like you have sealed-off airways. Additionally, you might experience:

  • Wheezing - whistling sound when you breathe
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Increased anxiety

Asthma attacks are controllable and sometimes preventable with the Thirlby Clinic, PLC, team's help. You can book a same-day visit if you’re having asthma symptoms.

What causes asthma attacks?

The exact cause of asthma isn’t certain. Experts believe that both environment and genetics contribute. Asthma attack triggers vary by individual, with some of the most common including:

  • Airborne allergens like dust mites 
  • Smoke
  • Cardiovascular exercise
  • Cold outdoor temperatures
  • Medications like ibuprofen and aspirin
  • Stress
  • Heightened emotions

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis develop asthma, although the strong association between the two diseases isn’t fully understood at this time.  

How do you diagnose asthma?

Asthma diagnosis starts with a physical exam. The Thirlby Clinic, PLC, team checks your breathing during wellness exams, but if you experience new asthma symptoms between visits, you should book an additional exam.

The team evaluates your symptoms and asks questions about frequency, how the symptoms affect your daily activities, and how you’re managing the symptoms. 

You’ll typically have tests, including spirometry and peak flow meter testing, to check your lung function. You might also need lab tests (labs) to rule out other conditions before the team diagnoses asthma.

How is asthma treated?

Asthma treatment helps you manage symptoms when you have an asthma attack. Some medications can also prevent attacks. 

Rescue medications

Usually, people with asthma need at least one inhaler, which delivers medication directly into your mouth so you can inhale it into your lungs. You use rescue inhalers when asthma attack symptoms begin. They quickly open your bronchial passages so you can breathe again. 

Long-term asthma control medications

You take long-term asthma medications daily to prevent asthma attacks. These medications come in both pill form and inhaler form.

Many sufferers use both types of medication to achieve maximum asthma control. 

Thirlby Clinic, PLC, has a century-long record of helping patients manage asthma successfully. For quick help from the caring team of experts, call the office or book an appointment online.