Eastside Medical Associates

Amy Lichtenfeld, MD

Board Certified Allergist-Immunologist & Internist located in Manhattan, New York, NY

Asthma is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects more than 25 million Americans. Board-certified allergist-immunologist and internal medicine physician Dr. Amy Lichtenfeld, helps teenagers through elderly adults manage asthma symptoms at Eastside Medical Associates on the Upper East Side, New York City. If you suffer from asthma, call or book an appointment online today.

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a lung disease that causes your airways to become narrow and inflamed, which causes difficulty breathing. When you have asthma, your airways are always more swollen and sensitive than someone without asthma.

Certain triggers — such as exercise or exposure to airborne allergens — can cause the cells in your airways to overreact and tighten. This may cause a cascade of worsening symptoms, known as an asthma attack, flare-up, or exacerbation.

Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening, so it’s crucial to treat the symptoms as soon as they appear.

Who gets asthma?

Asthma is a lifetime (chronic) condition that affects people of all ages. Certain factors may increase your risk of developing asthma, such as:

  • Having a family history of asthma
  • Being overweight
  • Being a smoker
  • Exposure to smoke, exhaust, or air pollution

Having another allergic disorder — such as hay fever or eczema — also makes you more susceptible to developing asthma. Most asthma sufferers have allergies.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Whistling sound upon exhale

The type, frequency, and severity of your asthma symptoms may change over time. Sometimes, asthma may be a minor nuisance. Other times, your symptoms can seriously disrupt your daily routine.

How do you diagnose and treat asthma?

To diagnose asthma, Dr. Lichtenfeld begins with a thorough physical exam and review of your medical history. She may perform a pulmonary function test (PFT), or other breathing tests, to check how your lungs are working. If your lung function is below normal, you may have asthma. She may also take an allergy test to find out if certain substances trigger your symptoms.

Then, Dr. Lichtenfeld works with you to develop a personalized plan to manage and reduce your symptoms. Asthma treatment may include:

  • Avoiding asthma triggers
  • Taking asthma medicines
  • Inhaling medicine through a nebulizer
  • Allergy shots

Dr. Lichtenfeld may also recommend immune modulating drugs, also known as biologic agents, that reduce the immune cells that contribute to severe asthma symptoms. Examples of immune modulating drugs include:

  • Xolair®
  • Nucala®
  • Cinqair®

Asthma is a lifelong condition with no cure, but Dr. Lichtenfeld can help you cope with this condition and lead a healthy life. If you suffer from asthma, call Dr. Amy Lichtenfeld or book an appointment online today.