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Pregnancy Breathing Issues: Is it normal shortness of breath or is it Asthma

Pregnancy Breathing Issues: Is it normal shortness of breath or is it Asthma

It can be difficult determining when to be concerned about asthma during pregnancy because it’s hard to tell if your breathing is normal or if you’re having an asthma attack.

Being pregnant changes a woman’s body and it’s common to become short of breath as the pregnancy progresses. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a normal, healthy pregnancy just because you suffer from asthma. You will, however, need to keep a close eye on your symptoms and take steps to keep it under control.

Why Shortness of Breath occurs:

Understanding how being pregnant affects the body will help you determine when being short of breath is normal and when there is reason for concern. As you begin to gain weight the body starts going through changes to accommodate for the extra weight. The lungs must work harder, so the number of times you breathe in per minute will increase and become more rapid. As the baby grows your stomach pushes up on the diaphragm, which also makes it more difficult to breathe.

Warning Signs – When to Be Concerned about Asthma during Pregnancy

Since being pregnant can affect your breathing, you don’t want to become alarmed every time you become a little short of breath, but you do need to know how to tell when your symptoms are severe enough for concern. If you notice some of the signs of asthma listed below, it may be cause for concern:

•   If it becomes difficult to perform everyday tasks that you normally do while pregnant because it’s harder for you to breathe than usual.

•   Coughing at night that keeps you awake

•   If it becomes painful to breathe for no apparent reason.

•   If you’re talking on the phone and you hear yourself wheezing, you may have a problem.

•   If your medication doesn’t provide improvement right away or if you realize you need to take it more often.

•   If you notice a decrease in the number of kicks you feel from your unborn baby and you’re having problems breathing, this could be a sign of fetal distress and cause for concern.

Get Urgent Medical Attention:

If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s recommended you see your health care provider as soon as possible. This is a critical time for you and your unborn baby. Having an asthma attack when pregnant can cause serious complications for both of you. Therefore, no asthma symptoms should be ignored, even if you’re not sure of its serious. 

What if you already have asthma and get pregnant?

Since being pregnant can change the severity of your asthma attacks and no one knows how you’ll be affected, it’s important to use your own judgment. If something doesn’t feel normal or your symptoms seem worse than they should be, then it’s reason for concern.

Having a serious asthma attack can be harmful to your unborn child. If you feel uneasy about your symptoms, see your doctor. If you believe you may be having an asthma attack, seek help immediately. Use your own judgment for when to be concerned about asthma during pregnancy and if it doesn’t feel right, see your doctor.

Looking for an asthma clinic near you? We serve patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Avondale, and Anthem. Call today at 602-242-4592, or book an appointment immediately online here!

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Reducing Asthma Symptoms in Children with a Change in Diet

Reducing Asthma Symptoms in Children with a Change in Diet

Parents who would like to help reduce asthma symptoms in their children without medication, or additional medication, may be able to accomplish this goal through a change in diet. Parents may even be able to help prevent asthma in their youngsters with the right meal plan. Several studies confirm the benefits for children of eating plenty of fatty fish, vegetables and fruits, while avoiding unhealthy foods.

Why Are Fatty Fish Important in the Diet?

Why Are Fatty Fish Important in the Diet for Asthma Prevention

Some examples of these fish, also called oily fish, include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and mackerel. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are recognized for anti-inflammation benefits for the cardiovascular system. These nutrients help prevent and manage heart disease. That’s a primary reason so many people take fish oil supplements. The American Heart Association advises people to eat at least two servings of fish, preferably oily fish, every week.

Some examples of these fish, also called oily fish, include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and mackerel. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are recognized for anti-inflammation benefits for the cardiovascular system. These nutrients help prevent and manage heart disease. That’s a primary reason so many people take fish oil supplements. The American Heart Association advises people to eat at least two servings of fish, preferably oily fish, every week.

Asthma and Inflammation

Asthma symptoms are caused by inflammation in the airways that cause air passages to become narrower temporarily. With uncontrolled asthma, the person sometimes has difficulty breathing, with symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Patients generally carry rescue inhalers in addition to their other asthma medication in case they experience an uncomfortable, and perhaps severe, attack. 

Reducing Symptoms

Research published in the October 2018 issue of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics focused on the advantages of eating at least two servings of fatty fish per day for the anti-inflammation qualities. The children in the study ate a Mediterranean diet, which is known for a daily menu emphasizing vegetables, whole grains and fruit, along with a small amount of low-fat dairy foods, eggs and lean meat.

After six months, the participants who had been eating the Mediterranean diet with two servings of oily fish per week experienced significant improvement in lung function compared with participants who ate a more standard diet.

Prevention 

Authors of research appearing in PLOS One in 2013, from the Public Library of Science, looked at several studies focusing on how consuming omega-3 fatty acids affects the development of asthma. They found that children who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids had a significantly lower risk of developing asthma. However, this was not true for adults.

Expert Insight

An article published in the journal Nutrients in 2017 discussed the differences between the standard American diet and the Mediterranean diet, and how these types of eating patterns can influence asthma symptoms. The typical American diet is characterized by a high intake of numerous foods associated with increased inflammation in the body. These include red meat, processed meat, fast food, deep-fried food, high-fat food, sugary substances and refined grains like low-fiber bread and pasta. 

What to Do Next Regarding your Children Suffering from Asthma

When parents realize their children are eating a relatively large amount of unhealthy foods, it’s time to make some major changes to the menu. They might try serving a different species of fatty fish each week so everyone can try the various flavors. A usual favorite can be served on another day. Boosting the intake of veggies, fruit and whole grains will be advantageous, and so will minimizing going to fast-food restaurants and serving too many foods with added sugar.

When children already have symptoms of asthma, their parents can seek diagnosis and treatment for these youngsters at Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates in metropolitan Phoenix

Please note that this article is for education purposes, and does not constitute medical advice.  Please see an asthma doctor or your PCP before changing medications or modifying your diet.

See also related posts

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Respiratory Illness in Children- Advice from an Allergy Doctor

10 Common Myths about Allergies and Asthma

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2018 Allergy and Asthma Check up Season before Fall Arrives

2018 Allergy and Asthma Check up Season before Fall Arrives

Phoenix Allergies are on the Rise Right Now

With summer heat moving on and our Arizona “cool” fall is approaching, another allergy season is soon be upon us!

Unfortunately, spring is not the only time when asthma and allergies are on the rise. Our late summer rain in July and August means more grasses and weeds and, consequently, an increased pollen count this fall and winter. Moreover, temperature inversions contribute to air pollution, another factor that affects allergies like the common hay fever. At the same time, there’s an increase in asthma symptoms that coincides with our children going back to school.

Allergies and asthma have undoubtedly become more prevalent during the last few years. Major cities are turning into allergy hot spots, and Phoenix is no exception. In fact, in extensive study of allergies across the country in 2011, Phoenix ranked the second worst city for allergen sensitizations, right after Dallas. The allergens examined included food, the common ragweed, house dust mites, mold, and pets.

Why an Allergy and Asthma Check Up is so Important Now

When it comes to allergies and asthma, being proactive is crucial. It’s important to remember that allergies are not static-they evolve over time and are greatly influenced by lifestyle changes and age. Nevertheless, with the right preparation, you will be able to treat your symptoms effectively or prevent them altogether in some cases.

Visiting your allergist right now will give you a chance to:

1) evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment,

2) adjust your medication if necessary, and

3) update your medical history.

Children can also benefit from a check up right as school is starting

Finally, this is a great time for first visits if you suspect you have an allergy that will trouble you as soon as allergy season hits!

How to Prepare for Your Visit to the Allergist’s Office

Before your appointment, talk to your doctor about any medication you might be taking. ALERT: Antihistamines interfere with allergy testing, so the general recommendation is to avoid them for seven days prior to testing. However, this may vary for specific medicines, so remember to follow your doctor’s specific instructions.

Psychiatric medications are another category that might affect skin tests. However, you should never stop taking your prescription without your psychiatrist’s permission. Finally, if you take beta-blockers, which might make testing riskier, your allergist will consult your cardiologist to have you stop them for a few days right before your visit.

There are no special preparations for the actual visit, however, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothing to make skin testing on your arm or back easier. Remember to provide your doctor with as much information as possible about changes to your symptoms, the effectiveness of your medication, or anything else relevant. Also, think about any questions you might have and prepare them beforehand. Don’t hesitate to ask for additional information or any educational materials that might be available for patients (which a good allergy specialist should provide).

What to Expect at the Allergist’s Office

Your first visit to a certified Arizona allergist will include a physical examination and communicating your complete medical history. This is a crucial step and you should try to be as thorough as possible. Remember to bring any relevant medical documents with you. Be sure to mention any childhood allergies, your current symptoms, as well as any medication you might be taking. A detailed picture of your condition will help your doctor determine which allergens may be responsible and test you specifically for them.

Allergy tests are suitable for people of all ages, including children. Skin tests are by far the most common. They are reliable, and provide fast results. Examples include the skin prick test, the intradermal, and the patch test. Blood tests are also available for investigating allergies, but these are more expensive and you will have to wait several days for your results. Nonetheless, blood testing is useful occasionally. When allergen exposure during a skin test could result in a severe reaction, when a patient suffers from a severe skin condition like eczema, or they cannot stop taking medication prior to testing, blood tests are a good alternative.

Why Repeating Your Allergy Test is Important

Your doctor may recommend retesting in some cases. If, for example, you are on medication and your symptoms return, change or worsen, or if you develop symptoms in a new season, you will most likely need to repeat your tests. Furthermore, people often develop new allergies over time, so it is necessary to identify these new triggers and pick up anything that previous tests might have missed. Another appropriate time for retesting is before beginning an immunotherapy plan. Your doctor will most likely want to check again for specific allergens before administering allergy shots.

Dealing with allergies and asthma is not just about treating the symptoms. A well-thought plan designed by you and your doctor will keep you one step ahead of your allergies. With the right preparation, you will be able to deal with this fall’s allergies and improve your quality of life significantly. So, don’t delay your appointment with your allergist this summer.

WATCH – Why allergy season gets worse every year

Sources

“Allergy and Asthma in the Southwestern United States”. allergy.peds.arizona.edu, University of Arizona, Health Sciences Center, Sept. 2012, allergy.peds.arizona.edu/southwest/advice_fall.html. Accessed 5 July 2018.

“Allergy Testing”. acaai.org, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, acaai.org/allergies/treatment/allergy-testing. Accessed 5 July 2018.

“Allergy Testing”. asthma.net, Health Union, asthma.net/diagnosis/allergy-testing/. Accessed 5 July 2018.

“Allergy Tests and Asthma”. webmd.com, Webmd, webmd.com/asthma/guide/allergy-tests-and-asthma#1. Accessed 5 July 2018.

“How often should I be retested for allergies?”. acaai.org, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, acaai.org/resources/connect/ask-allergist/Allergy-Testing. Accessed 5 July 2018.

Nath, Ishani. “How to Prepare For Your First Visit to the Allergist”. allergicliving.com, Allergic Living, 4 May 2017, allergicliving.com/2017/05/04/how-to-prepare-for-your-first-visit-to-the-allergist/. Accessed 5 July 2018.

Quest Diagnostics Health Trends. Allergies Across America: The Largest Study of Allergy Testing in the United States, 2011 [online], questdiagnostics.com/dms/Documents/Other/2011_QD_AllergyReport.pdf. Accessed 5 July 2018.

“Will my medication affect the results of my skin test?”. acaai.org, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, acaai.org/resources/connect/ask-allergist/Allergy-Testing. Accessed 5 July 2018.

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10 Common Myths about Allergies and Asthma

10 Common Myths about Allergies and Asthma

Allergies and asthma are becoming increasingly common and affect a substantial portion of the population around the globe, and especially in Arizona. Even in cases of a mild allergy, proper diagnosis and management are essential. Unfortunately, the prevalence of specific misconceptions prevents many people from getting the care they need.

Here are 10 common myths about asthma and allergies you might have thought were true.

 

1. Allergies are harmless

Allergies are a serious problem that has become more prominent in recent years. No fewer than one in five people will develop an allergy at some point during their lifetime. If left untreated, allergies can have a very negative impact on quality of life. Allergic rhinitis, for instance, causes fatigue, sleepiness, and irritability. Sufferers often find it hard to concentrate, and this, in turn, affects their work or school performance. Furthermore, allergies to foods, drugs, and insects can cause anaphylaxis. This systemic allergic reaction can potentially be life-threatening.

2. Asthma is not fatal

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Asthma deaths have been on the increase recently. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 10 people die of asthma each day in the country. Adults are four times more likely to have a fatal asthma attack than children. In 2015, asthma accounted for 3,615 deaths, many of which proper care and treatment could have prevented.

3. Asthma is a strictly emotional disorder; it’s “all in your head”

Acute emotional stress can trigger an asthma attack. That is not, however, the real cause of the condition. An asthmatic person has hyperactive airways, which become highly sensitive to environmental changes or stimuli. Some scientists believe that these triggers cause an abnormal reaction to sensory nerves in the lungs, which results in coughing and wheezing. The airway muscles contract and swell as the attack progresses.

4. Asthma does not require any medical treatment.

Close monitoring and regular follow-ups with a specialist are crucial, even if the symptoms are mild. The right medication will also prevent inflammation and damage to the lungs. Prevention is the most effective medicine, however, and drugs could be unnecessary in the mildest of cases or when the asthmatic person avoids the triggers that cause asthma, such as pollen, pets, or cold air. These preventive measures are often too restrictive or even impossible to adopt.

5. Allergies and asthma are curable

While there are several useful treatments available, there is not, at the moment, any permanent cure for allergies or asthma. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is an effective way to treat specific allergies, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, and stinging insect allergy. However, not every allergic person responds to immunotherapy, and there is the possibility of relapse after the end of the treatment. Moreover, this type of therapy cannot treat food allergies yet.

6. All children will eventually outgrow their allergies and asthma

For some children, their asthma symptoms improve or even disappear during puberty, the most severe cases, however, can last for many years, well into adulthood. A large percentage of children with atopic dermatitis (eczema) also improve as teenagers, although they may have lifelong issues with soap and skincare products. In the case of allergic rhinitis, an 80 percent of the children still have symptoms 10 years later. Seasonal allergies are hard to outgrow, but a person’s symptoms may lessen with time.

7. If you relocate, your allergies and asthma will disappear

Moving to another climate might offer relief to some allergy sufferers. If high humidity, molds or cold air trigger your allergy, you may benefit from a warm, dry environment. The air quality in your area is also relevant. Pollution has a negative impact on allergies and could even set off an asthma attack. The bad news is, even if you relocate, your immune response will not change. You might still be exposed and react to new triggers. Allergic people tend to develop new allergies, so a new environment comes with its own risks.

8. Asthmatics should not do any form of exercise or participate in sports

Exercising is essential for everyone’s health and well-being, including people who have asthma. Physical activity strengthens your heart and respiratory system, improves your immunity, and battles stress and anxiety. Because asthmatics greatly benefit from the right kind of exercise, they should engage in it regularly; however it is true that exercise can create an asthma attack.

9. If you are continuously exposed to animals, you will become desensitized to them

In reality, if you are allergic to individual animals and your exposure increases, it is likely that your sensitivity will worsen. In some cases, if you already have an allergy and come in regular contact with indoor pets, you eventually become allergic to them as well. The best solution for relieving your symptoms would be avoiding contact with said pets altogether.

10. Some pet breeds are better for people with allergies

While the amount of allergens that a specific animal can produce varies, all members of a species can potentially be allergenic but some pets are none to be less allergen producing than others (Read this blog for details). In the case of cats, most of the allergen comes from the sebaceous glands in their skin. Dog allergens, on the other hand, are mainly found in the animal’s saliva. Even if a pet doesn’t shed hair, the allergens could still be carried into the house by dust particles. Most specialists agree that people with pet allergies shouldn’t keep them in their homes. Other animals, such as guinea pigs, mice, horses, and even exotic pets like iguanas can also trigger allergies, so there is no genuinely hypoallergenic pet.

When it comes to allergies and asthma, myths, misconceptions, and half-truths abound. It is essential for everyone, and especially for allergic people and their families to get reliable information from reputable sources, such as official allergy organizations and specialists. This will help you separate the scientifically proven from the disproven facts, and possibly improve your quality of life it the long run.

Related: Asthmatic Allergy

Sources

“Asthma Facts and Figures.”www.aafa.org, AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), February 2018, http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-facts.aspx. Accessed 18 March 2018.

“Common Myths About Allergy and Asthma Exposed.” www.allergy.org.au, ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy), https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/about-allergy/common-myths-about-allergy-and-asthma-exposed. Accessed 18 March 2018.

Gupta, Sanjay. “Myths and Facts About Allergic Asthma.” www.everydayhealth.com, Ziff Davis, LLC, 27 Feb. 2014. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/allergic-asthma-in-adults/sanjay-gupta/allergic-asthma-myths-facts/. Accessed 18 March 2018.

Lipkowitz, Myron A., and Tova Narava. The Encyclopedia of Allergies. Facts on File, Inc., 2001 (second edition), pp. 35, 179-180.

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Does Eczema in Children increase the risk of Allergies

Does Eczema in Children increase the risk of Allergies

If your child has been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (eczema), food allergies, asthma, or other conditions, it can be tough to understand how these conditions interact with each other, and how they came to be in the first place.

As a parent, having a child with a medical condition can be stressful, and we are here to help! Our team of experienced and highly-trained professionals can help you navigate daily life and offer better insights into the causes and remedies of your unique symptoms and condition.

Understanding Childhood Allergies

Normal Skin VS Eczema Skin

Pediatric allergies can range from atopic dermatitis (eczema) to asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. In recent studies, it was found that if your child was diagnosed with eczema while they were an infant, it was highly possible that this would progress into other conditions in later childhood. These conditions include:

  • Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Asthma
  • Food Allergies

Does Eczema cause other Problems?

One study investigated whether early allergy sensitivities increased the progression to other conditions. What they ultimately found was that children who developed eczema during infancy and who also had allergic sensitizations (such as an allergy to food) were 7 times more likely to develop other conditions, like asthma, in later childhood. They also concluded that children with dual conditions were also more likely to develop other conditions such as food allergies and allergic rhinitis (hay fever) for example.

However, this study also concluded that if a child developed eczema without any other allergen sensitivities by their first birthday, they would be at a lower risk of developing asthma or other allergy-associated sensitivities in later childhood.

These conditions are thought to be caused by an irregularity of the gene encoding filaggrin, which is an important skin protein. Unfortunately, this type of genetic testing isn’t readily available in most clinical practices, so alternative approaches for diagnosis may be needed.

What Can Be Done for Children?

Here at Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates, we understand the discomfort and anxiety that allergies such as atopic dermatitis can bring into your and your children’s lives. Our desert environment, along with foods and even a lack of sufficient allergy awareness plays a major role in the rising number of allergic attacks throughout Arizona.  And as you can see, the more we prevent allergies from starting, the better it can be for our growing children!

Our top-rated Phoenix allergy and asthma specialists can help you and your child better understand and manage your allergy symptoms, including the underlying causes and triggers with  comprehensive allergy testing here in the Valley.  With over 20 years of experience and 5 clinics across the valley, you can be sure to find the absolute best treatment plans for patients of all ages.

If you are tired of the effects of persistent allergic reactions contact us at 602-242-4592 today and discover Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C. can help!

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