Proper asthma management can prevent this chronic lung condition from limiting activities or causing complications; Dr. Mark A. Ramirez offers asthma management to residents of Hemet, California.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by inflamed airways. Inhaled substances (triggers) like pollen or dust, certain scents, exercise, and even cold weather can cause the airways to react, which is why asthma is sometimes called reactive airway disease. Chronic inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and inhaling a trigger or being exposed to cold can make the airways narrow. Muscles around the airways tighten, causing a characteristic wheeze with each breath.
A chronic cough, usually at night or early in the morning, is one of the classic symptoms of asthma. An asthmatic cough can vary from mild to severe and may be dry or produce mucus. The narrowed airways cause wheezing with exhalation. In an asthma attack (called an exacerbation) symptoms may get worse very quickly. Another symptom of asthma is mouth breathing, which is a way to get more air into the lungs; asthma patients also tend to have higher than normal respiratory rates.
Asthma treatment is either focused on maintenance or management of an exacerbation. One of the key steps in management is identifying and avoiding triggers or developing strategies to mitigate their impact. For example, if the patient has cold- or exercise-induced asthma, medications should be administered prior to going outside or exercising. Maintenance medications for asthma include bronchodilators to help expand the airways, and steroids, which help decrease inflammation. In a severe asthma attack, additional inhaled medications, adrenalin and oxygen may be necessary.
An additional dose or two of the prescribed bronchodilator may be all that's needed for a mild exacerbation. An urgent care visit should be the next step if the patient doesn't get better. A severe exacerbation includes symptoms like blue lips or fingernails or being too short of breath to talk; these can be life-threatening and require emergency care. A patient who has frequent exacerbations, even if relatively mild, may need a change in medications or a referral to a specialist.
For a comprehensive patient-oriented guideline on specific diseases, please visit and use the American Academy of Family Physicians site at www.aafp.org.
Our practice accepts most major insurance plans. If you do not see your insurance listed below, please call our office to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members about your individual coverage.
"This doctor is one of the best I have seen. I feel like a real person not just another face that the staff wont remember."
"I think Dr. Ramirez is the best doctor in Hemet. He will take extra time to meet and get to know you, and fully understand your concerns."