Asthma Specialist

Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington

Allergy and Asthma Specialists located in Fairfax, VA & Gainesville, VA

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that can impact your ability to participate in daily activities. Our experts at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington offer individualized diagnostic and treatment plans so that you can take control of your asthma. Call or schedule an appointment online today with our providers at one of our locations in Fairfax, Gainesville, Vienna, Warrenton, Culpeper, or Front Royal.

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disorder of the bronchial airways that are passageways through which air travels from your nose to the lungs. In asthma the normal bronchial airways are inflamed resulting in increased mucus secretions, swelling, and muscle spasm.

What happens during an acute asthma exacerbation?

As seen in the figure, during an acute asthma exacerbation there is:

  • inflammation of the airways,
  • narrowing due to excessive mucus secretions,
  • swelling of the mucus membrane, and
  • constriction of the muscle

ALL of which lead to the symptoms one experiences during an acute attack. 

What are the symptoms of asthma?

You may have asthma if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest congestion
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

What causes asthma?

Asthma is caused by allergic and non-allergic factors.

Allergic factors include allergens of pollen, mold, dust mites, and animal dander.

Non-allergic factors include exercise, increased humidity, cold air, and exposure to non-specific irritants such as smoke, chemicals, dust, and smells. 

How is asthma diagnosed?

Asthma is a clinical diagnosis.

Diagnostic tools include a pulmonary function test, which measures your lung volume and any obstruction due to asthma, and a breath test to measure airway inflammation.

Allergy skin testing is done to identify any allergic trigger factors, such as pollens, molds, dust mites, and animal danders. Skin testing involves injecting a small amount of the extract of an allergen into your skin and waiting 20 minutes to see if redness and swelling develops.

How is asthma treated?

Asthma treatment includes avoidance of triggers, medications, and, if indicated, allergy injections. Inhaled medications are the most commonly used treatments for asthma control both for relief of acute symptoms and for long term control. Certain oral medications also are helpful in controlling asthma. For severe asthma, biologic medications can help.

If you have asthma triggered by allergies, allergy immunotherapy (shots) can be very helpful in controlling and treating the asthma for the long term.

Because asthma is a chronic condition that can impact your daily activities, it is important to work with one of the expert asthma specialists at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington to better understand your triggers and to be able to lead a normal life with few asthma exacerbations. Book your visit by calling the most convenient location or using the online scheduler.