Understanding Asthma and its Effects

More than 25 million Americans currently suffer from some form of asthma. To protect the health of her patients, Dr. Oksana Senyk performs thorough asthma evaluations at her Birmingham, AL-area practice. Once we understand the underlying cause of your symptoms, we can then develop a personalized treatment plan to improve pulmonary function and help you return to a healthy, active lifestyle. Contact our practice today to schedule an appointment and learn more.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes airways (bronchial tubes) to become inflamed and narrow. When left untreated, breathing can become increasingly difficult, making it challenging to exercise. Patients with mild forms of asthma may experience a slight shortness of breath or tightness in the chest. Other common symptoms include coughing and wheezing. In more serious cases, individuals can have great difficulty breathing and experience life-threatening asthma attacks.

Illustration comparing a healthy airway to one with asthma

The exact causes of asthma are still under investigation. However, most experts believe the condition occurs because of a genetic predisposition. In addition, allergens and respiratory irritants increase the risk of asthma. The condition can affect patients of all ages and it often begins in childhood. It may also manifest differently during various stages of life, and symptoms can become especially unpredictable during pregnancy.

Asthma is a chronic condition for which there is no cure. However, consistent treatment can keep symptoms under control so that patients can safely experience a full range of activities.

Diagnosing Asthma

Performing an accurate diagnosis is the first step of any asthma treatment regimen. No matter if you have recently begun experiencing symptoms or you have already been diagnosed with the condition, Dr. Senyk will perform a pulmonary function test (PFT) to assess your lung health. This test will evaluate airflow, lung capacity, gas exchange, and other respiratory functions. We utilize PFTs because our equipment is easy for the patient and involves minimal stress, making them appropriate for seniors and those with underlying health problems. Based on the results we can determine if it is asthma or another condition is causing our patient's symptoms.

Asthma Treatment with Dr. Senyk

Once she has diagnosed you with asthma, Dr. Senyk can then determine the best course of treatment. Asthma is a chronic condition for which there is no cure. However, consistent treatment can keep symptoms under control so that patients can safely experience a full range of activities. These treatments can include:

  • Emergency or quick-relief medications ("rescue" inhalers)
  • Long-term control medications such as inhaled corticosteroids
  • Lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain triggers or airborne allergens

Dr. Senyk will explain your diagnosis and treatment options in clear language and answer any questions you may have so that you can take a more active role in managing your asthma. The right approach for you will depend on your symptoms, the severity of your condition, your age, and your overall health.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Do not let asthma compromise your life or keep you from the activities you love. Contact our practice today to schedule a professional evaluation and diagnosis.