Health

What you should know about asthma

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Asthma is a chronic lung condition in which the body’s airways become irritated and narrowed, making it difficult for a person to breathe.

“Some signs and symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath,” said Dr. Greg Jun, an internist at Centegra Physician Care. “Triggers for asthma can include environmental irritants such as airborne substances, cold air, respiratory infections and exercise.” Some people develop occupational asthma because of contact with certain chemical irritants or industrial dusts in the workplace, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Young children with frequent respiratory infections are at highest risk of developing asthma that continues beyond 6 years of age. Other risk factors include having allergies, eczema or parents who have asthma, notes the NHLBI. In fact, most, but not all, people who have asthma also have allergies. While more boys than girls have asthma, more women have the disease than men.

“Asthma can be diagnosed at any age,” Jun said. “No one can be too young or too old. A person can be diagnosed with asthma clinically by their primary care provider, and often will undergo additional testing, such as pulmonary function tests.”

Other health conditions can make asthma harder to manage, including a runny nose, sinus infections, reflux disease, psychological stress and sleep apnea, according to the NHLBI. Those conditions should be treated as part of an overall asthma care plan.

“Asthma can be managed to maintain a high quality of life by working with your primary care provider in developing an established asthma treatment plan,” Jun said.

To schedule an appointment with Jun, call 815-455-6000.

Centegra Health System : 4309 Medical Center Drive, McHenry, IL 60050 : 815.338.6600 : centegra.org

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