Links between allergies and asthma, as well as treatments for asthma is a topic many have questions about. In a recent interview on KVUE TV in Austin, Texas, board certified allergist, Hetu Parekh, MD of Family Allergy & Asthma in Austin, Texas gives his recommendations below in this Q & A, part 1 or a 2 part series discussing allergies, how they are linked to asthma and treatments for asthma.
KVUE-TV: First, we often hear about allergy and asthma together. What is the link between the two?
Dr. Parekh: About 75% of people with asthma also have allergic rhinitis or hay fever. We now know asthma is not solely a problem of the lungs, and hay fever solely a problem of the nose and/or eyes. In both cases, it is an over-reactive immune system, and the result shows up as itchy red eyes, or itchy, runny, sneezing nose, or coughing and wheezing, or a combination of both. In fact, that is why some researchers have developed a “united airway” theory. This is where your upper airway (nose) symptoms are not well controlled, than your lower airway, your lungs, will also not be controlled, and vice-versa.
KVUE-TV: So how does a person know they have asthma?
Dr. Parekh: That’s a good question as having environmental allergies can be associated with, but isn’t a prerequisite for asthma. Regardless of the cause, symptoms involve various combinations of coughing, wheezing, a feeling of “chest tightness,” and often, exercise intolerance, because of these types of symptoms. The first step is to determine if you have asthma, and what your triggers are. Your doctor can help you with that, like we do at Austin Family Allergy & Asthma.
KVUE-TV: So, let’s say I go the doctor, then what?
Dr. Parekh: Your doctor will first try to determine if you have asthma. Then, depending on its’ severity, may send you to an asthma specialist such as an allergist or pulmonologist. Asthma is a very difficult diagnosis because it is such a “heterogeneous” disease — meaning it can really vary dramatically from person to person. Some people having a very mild course of asthma, and others can have more severe asthmatic issues. It’s important to see your doctor so that your treatment can be tailored to your individual needs. And keep in mind, like so many other chronic illnesses, the disease can fluctuate over time, so identifying your own triggers is very important.
KVUE-TV: Pollen in central Austin certainly doesn’t help, does it! So what is the mainstay of asthma treatment?
Dr. Parekh: Well, for most persistent asthmatics, the mainstay of treatment is an inhaled corticosteroid medication, and using a Beta-agonist like albuterol during flare-ups. The less one needs to use your albuterol, the better controlled your asthma is!
Click HERE to view on KVUE TV’s website. OR Watch below.
Austin Family Allergy & Asthma, based in Austin, Texas, Physicians are Board Certified Allergists Doctor Allen K. Lieberman and Doctor Hetu Parekh, who treat the WHOLE patient — and family members of all ages. Austin Family Allergy & Asthma Provides help for cedar fever, hay fever, asthma, including a wide variety of allergy issues including food allergies. Same day or next day appointments are available. Sí, hablamos español! Call: 512-346-7936 or visit our website by clicking HERE .