Asthma Care and Treatment
Why Choose Treatment for Asthma at University of Colorado Hospital?
At University of Colorado Hospital, our specialists design individual treatment plans to meet the unique needs of each asthma patient. Our medical practitioners provide care based on the latest evidence-based research and outcomes - and they use the most advanced technology to do it.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. The airways of the lungs become swollen and sore, and are vulnerable to irritants such as allergens, smoke and cold air. As a result, the airways become constricted and cause the lungs to get less air.
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by a variety of things including:
- Allergens (dust, mites, pollen)
- Viral or sinus infections
Asthma attacks can be mild or severe. When asthma attacks are severe, they can cause the airways to close and may result in death. It's important to get asthma symptoms treated and learn how to manage the disease.
Tests and Treatments
Testing for Asthma
A doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and ask you to describe situations that trigger your asthma symptoms.
A lung function test may be needed to confirm an asthma diagnosis. A lung function test called "spirometry" determines how well you breathe by having you breathe into a hose connected to a machine.
Another lung function test called a "challenge test" causes an asthma outbreak by having you breathe in cold air or a substance that constricts your airway.
Inhaled Bronchodilators. Medications that help open airways restricted by asthma. They are very effective and have few side effects.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications. Inhaled anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed for daily use and are considered effective and safe.
Systemic Bronchodilators. Systemic bronchodilators are tablets or capsules that are used for daily treatment of asthma. Systemic bronchodilators are helpful in treating asthma that is worse at nighttime.
Systemic Corticosteroids. Systemic corticosteroids are medications that are used primarily to treat severe asthma attacks. Prolonged use of these medications is not recommended. They can produce uncomfortable side effects.
Your Medical Team
Asthma Specialists at University of Colorado Hospital
Allergist or immunologist – A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma.
Pulmonologist – a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases and conditions
Living with Asthma
Though asthma is a chronic condition, it can be treated with medications and with lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor about medicines that might improve your asthma symptoms. Discuss any side effects that may result from taking medication.
Limiting the number of irritants in your environment may help reduce your symptoms. For example, you can minimize the dust in your home by having washable curtains and blinds and covering your mattresses and box springs with dust-proof covers.
Exercise is recommended when you have asthma in order to strengthen your lungs and heart.
If you're allergic to dander, avoid pets with fur or have them groomed as often as possible to minimize dander.
Another way to keep asthma under control is to learn how to manage a flare-up of symptoms. Learning to identify triggers that cause flare-ups and avoiding them as much as possible is recommended.
Getting a Second Opinion about Asthma
People with asthma may choose to seek additional medical advice from another doctor or specialist.
Asthma Support Groups
Allergy and Asthma Mothers of Asthmatics
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Additional Asthma Resources
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
American Lung Association