OSF Medical Group

Coordinated Asthma Care

At Illinois Lung Institute a multi-disciplinary team, which includes a pulmonologist, nurse practitioner and nationally-certified asthma educator, uses the latest technology to assess your asthma severity and help you achieve control of your asthma.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bronchial tubes of the lungs.  In patients with asthma, the lining of the bronchial tubes swell and the airways become very sensitive. During an asthma attack, the bronchial tubes tighten up enough to cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Types of Asthma:

  • Allergic asthma
  • Exercise induced asthma
  • Chronic asthmatic bronchitis
  • Occupational asthma

Signs and Symptoms

Some common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing (night cough in children), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and colds that "go to your chest."

If you have had a history of asthma as a child or it runs in your family, you are at a higher risk for asthma.

Asthma can be especially difficult for patients who also experience seasonal allergies, hay fever, allergic rhinitis, sinus infections, bronchitis, chronic cough, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, exercise induced bronchospasm (EIB), vocal cord disorders or are overweight.

Triggers

  • Common allergens
  • Irritants
  • Infections
  • Weather changes
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Food/medicine allergy
  • Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) / heartburn
  • Occupational exposure

Testing & Diagnosis

Asthma is diagnosed using pulmonary function testing -spirometry or methacholine challenge based on national EPR 3 guidelines. A complete history and physical is also used to establish the level of asthma severity and risk.

Controlling Your Asthma

Many things trigger asthma attacks.  At Illinois Lung Institute, we believe there are three primary steps to controlling your asthma.

  1. Identifying your asthma triggers and how to avoid them
  2. Work with your provider to form a written asthma action plan that will tell you what medicines to take and how and when to take them. 
  3. Using daily anti-inflammatory medication called controller or maintenance medications based on national guidelines.

Goals of the Asthma Clinic

The goals of our asthma clinic are:

  • to form a partnership with you
  • to educate you on how to control your asthma
  • to help you achieve normal daily activity with no hospital visits 
  • to develop a detailed action plan for controlling your asthma

We firmly believe that with proper diagnosis, medication management, trigger avoidance, and an asthma action plan, your asthma can be controlled.