Asthma is a very diverse illness that affects people of all ages. If you have asthma, the airways that allow air to enter and exit your lungs become narrow due to swelling and mucus build up, and it becomes hard to breathe. It's unclear why this happens to some people and not others, but the current theory is it's a combination of genetics and environmental triggers.
The key to managing asthma is to try to prevent the attacks by using preventative medications, identifying and avoiding potential triggers for the attack, and in some cases allergy desensitization.
Common asthma triggers include:
Avoiding triggers can reduce the risk of an asthma attack.
Like asthma, emphysema can make it difficult to breathe, but this condition affects the air sacs in the lungs instead of the airways. The air sacs inflate with each breath, allowing oxygen to enter the bloodstream from the air. When a person exhales, the sacs deflate. With emphysema, the inner walls of these sacs weaken and even rupture, reducing the surface area of the lungs, so less oxygen gets through.
There is a direct connection between cigarette smoking and emphysema, but long-term exposure to any pollutant or irritant, such as chemical fumes or even dust, has the same effect. For example, emphysema often affects people who spend their days working around cars or near chemicals.
The symptoms of these two problems seem very similar, especially in the early stages of emphysema. They both might include occasional shortness of breath. Emphysema is a progressive disease, though, so the difficulty will get worse over time. Asthma, on the other hand, is ongoing and chronic but episodic, so you only have symptoms when exposed to triggers.
To find out if you have asthma or emphysema, Dr. Cordell will give you tests to get a clear picture of your lungs and airways, such as spirometry and imaging. He’ll also listen to your lungs and take the time to learn about your lifestyle and medical history.
Our practice accepts most PPO plans and several commercial HMO and Medicare Advantage HMO plans.
We also accept Medicare assignment. This means that we accept the determination of Medicare about the charges for covered services. Medicare pays 80% of this fee after your yearly deductible. We accept almost all Medicare supplement plans, except Medi-Cal.
If you have any questions regarding insurance providers, please call our office.
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