Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects millions of Americans. Asthma is closely linked to allergies, and is considered a risk factor in developing asthma. Asthma is characterized by coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing. Those with asthma have sensitive airways, known as bronchial tubes, which can be triggered by allergens, exercise, reflux disease, illness, pollution, strong odors, or weather changes. Asthma is currently the leading chronic illness among children in the US, although it can affect people of all ages and races; however those of African American decent are more likely to be hospitalized or have more severe cases of asthma than Caucasians.
Asthma can be properly diagnosed by your board-certified allergist/immunologist by performing a pulmonary function test (PFT). The most common form of PFT is spirometry, which specifically measures the amount (volume) and the speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled, which can help assess the extent of your asthma.