Allergies and asthma often occur together. The same substances that trigger allergic reactions may also cause asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. This is called allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma. Substances such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander are common triggers. In some people, skin or food allergies can cause asthma symptoms.
Working with pulmonary specialists and primary care physicians, Greenwich Hospital allergy specialists diagnose and treat the causes and symptoms of allergy-induced asthma.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Asthma testing may include tests for allergic sensitivities, such as skin and blood tests. In addition, pulmonary function tests may be ordered to evaluate the effect of asthma on lung function. Pulmonary tests may include:
- Spirometry. This test uses a device called a spirometer to record the amount and the rate of air breathed in and out over a period of time.
- Lung Volume. These tests measure total lung capacity.
- Airway Resistance. A test that measures how easily air moves in and out of the lungs to determine if airways are narrowed.
- Diffusing Capacity (DLCO). This test measures how well gases such as oxygen move from the lungs into the blood.
- Arterial Blood Gases (ABG). This blood test can show how well the lungs are getting oxygen into the blood and carbon dioxide out of the blood.
Individual treatment plans may include:
- Environmental control measures to avoid asthma triggers
- Quick-relief rescue medications used to provide temporary relief of symptoms. They include bronchodilators and oral corticosteroids.
- Long-term control medications taken regularly (often daily) to control airway inflammation and treat symptoms in people who have frequent asthma symptoms.