Frisco Doctor

Urgent Care for Asthma: Diagnosis and TreatmentFrisco, TX

Asthma is a common condition that results in cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. This condition affects both children and adults. Asthma can come at any age and have varying severity of symptoms, ranging from mild annoyance to serious and life-threatening. If you have been feeling the symptoms described below or suspect you are having a flare-up of a previously diagnosed condition of asthma, visit our urgent care center for an evaluation and treatment today.

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What is asthma?

Asthma is a condition that is the result of a highly complex interaction between our immune system and the airways in our lungs. To put it simply, the cells of our immune system create a reaction that changes the structure of our airway, causing us to cough and wheeze. In addition, there are a variety of factors that can worsen asthma, including those passed down from our family, substances in the environment and infections.

What are the risk factors for asthma?

There are a variety of factors that can increase your risk of developing asthma.

  • Sex — In childhood, boys tend to get asthma more than girls; from 20-40, both men and women tend to get it evenly, and after 40, the disease becomes more common in females.
  • Early life events — If you had poor lung function as a newborn baby, your risk of asthma is much higher.
  • Family history — If members of your family also have asthma, that can be passed onto you and increase your risk.
  • Allergies — If you have allergies, especially if they cause symptoms that affect your breathing, your risk for asthma also increases.
  • Pollution — If you live or grew up in an area of high pollution, your likelihood of asthma also increases.
  • Maternal medication use — If a mother used certain medications during her pregnancy, this can increase the risk of asthma for the baby; these include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Aleve).

  • What can trigger my asthma?

    Your asthma can be worsened by certain factors. The most common are listed below.

  • Allergies
  • Infections that affect our lungs and airways
  • Smoke (tobacco, chemical)
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Menstrual cycle (in women)
  • Medications (Aleve, propranolol)
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    What can an urgent care physician do to diagnose asthma?

    The physician will take an accurate history to see if you have the symptoms of asthma, as well as any of the risk factors or triggers described above. They will also listen to your lungs, which will have a certain kind of sound to them, called wheezing, when heard through a stethoscope. There are also things the physician can see in your throat and nose that can be associated with asthma.

    The physician will then test how well your lungs are working, which is called pulmonary function testing. These tests can pinpoint specifically if your breathing symptoms are due to asthma or something else, like emphysema or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which can have similar symptoms but are commonly caused by smoking.

    There are no laboratory blood tests available that can diagnose asthma, but if the asthma is severe enough, the physician may get blood tests to make sure you do not also have an infection or other disease that might be making your asthma worse.

    Similar to blood tests, chest X-rays usually will not confirm asthma but can help the physician see if there is something else going on in the lungs that might be causing your symptoms.

    Based on all these tests, your physican will make an evaluation on if you have asthma or not. If they are still not sure, they may refer you to an asthma specialist for further testing.

    What can an urgent care physician due to treat my asthma?

    There are three main things your physician will do to help treat your asthma.

    Your physician will need to know how your asthma is doing, and only you can provide this information accurately. They will teach you how to test how well your lungs are working with a special tool so you can keep track of it. They will also provide you with certain questions that you will need to keep track of in a diary. These include but are not limited to:

  • How many times does your asthma wake you up at night?
  • How many times have you had to go to the emergency room for your asthma?
  • Has your asthma been preventing you from doing your normal activities at school or work?

  • The physician will also educate you on how to avoid certain triggers that make your asthma worse. They can help find solutions when certain triggers might be unavoidable at work or home.

    Lastly, your physician will also prescribe medication that you will have to learn how and when to take. Since these medications can have side effects, the physician will try to do the minimal amount possible until your symptoms have improved. These medications can include oral pills, inhalers and even a machine with a mask that you use to breathe at night.

    It is extremely important that you make sure you completely understand your role in monitoring and treating your asthma ,as it can take some time to see what works for you and to change your medications as needed.