Who is an Allergist?

A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and allergies is an allergist. All of the allergists in our office are Board Certified allergy specialists of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology who have passed a qualifying examination and are specially trained to identify the factors that trigger asthma or allergies, and help the patient to prevent or treat them.

When should I see an Allergist?

Allergy sufferers may become so accustomed to chronic symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion or wheezing that they do not consider their condition to be unusual. Yet, with the help of an allergist, these symptoms can usually be prevented or controlled and the patient's quality of life greatly improved.

  • - Your allergies are causing secondary symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.
  • - You experience hay fever or other allergy symptoms several months out of the year.
  • - Antihistamines and other over-the-counter medications do not control your allergy symptoms, or create - unacceptable side effects, such as drowsiness.
  • - Your asthma or allergies are interfering with your ability to carry on day-to-day activities.
  • - Your asthma or allergies decrease the quality of your life.
  • - You are experiencing warning signs of asthma such as:
      • - You occasionally have to struggle to catch your breath.
    • - You often wheeze or cough, especially at night or after exercise.
    • - You are frequently short of breath or feel tightness in your chest.
    • - You have previously been diagnosed with asthma but, despite treatment, you still have frequent acute asthma attacks.

What are some common allergies?

While an estimated 40 - 50 million Americans have allergies, only 1 - 2% of all adults are allergic to foods or food additives. Food allergies are more common in children

The pollen from trees, grasses and weeds is a major source of allergies in Tennessee. Diagnostic testing can be done to identify the pollens and your allergist can develop a treatment plan to control them.

Most people are not allergic to insect stings and should know the difference between an allergic reaction and a normal reaction. Simple and rapid testing can be done. More than 500,000 people enter hospital emergency rooms every year suffering from insect stings. A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis occurs in 0.5% - 5% of the U.S. population as a result of insect stings. At least 40 deaths per year result from insect sting anaphylaxis.

Allergic Rhinitis, also known as “hay fever” is a term that describes the symptoms produced by nasal irritation or inflammation. Symptoms of rhinitis include runny nose, itching, sneezing and stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion. These symptoms are the nose's natural response to inflammation and irritation.

Allergies including allergic rhinitis, affect an estimated 40 - 50 million people in the United States. Some allergies may interfere with day-to-day activities or lessen the quality of life.

Your allergist with his or her specialized training and expertise in managing allergies and asthma can develop a treatment plan for your individual condition. The goal will be to enable you to lead a life that is as normal and symptom-free as possible.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the lining of the airways become inflamed and swollen and muscle spasms restrict the flow of air to the lungs. It is a relatively common condition and the incidence of the disease has grown in recent years. Currently, it is estimated that 12 million Americans - including more than four million children - have asthma.

What are common Asthma symptoms?

If you experience difficulty breathing, a tight feeling in the chest, coughing, and wheezing, you may suffer from asthma. Sometimes a chronic cough is the only symptom, and many of these cases go undiagnosed. The symptoms of asthma are most frequently noted at night and in the morning, but an asthma episode can happen at any time. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening attacks which require immediate emergency treatment.

What causes Asthma?

Although the exact cause of asthma is still being studied, it is known to be a combination of inflammation of the lung combined with narrowing of the lung passages activated by the body’s immune system. There are a number of factors that are known to trigger an asthma episode including:
Exposure to Allergens – Substances that cause an allergic reaction in some individuals include pollen, dust, mold, feathers, animal dander and some foods.
Viral Infection – Simple colds can cause severe asthma exacerbation.
Exercise – Most people with asthma can benefit from an exercise program with pretreatment and proper monitoring.
Emotional Stress
Weather Conditions – Cold, windy weather, or sudden changes in the weather can trigger asthma reactions.

What Can I Expect From Treatment?

With proper diagnosis and treatment by an asthma specialist, most people with asthma can pursue normal lifestyles and expect to:
Sleep through the night without disruptive coughing episodes, and awaken with a clear chest in the morning.
Avoid acute asthma "attacks" and eliminate the need for emergency room visits or hospitalization.
Prevent missed days from work or school.
Lead a full life with normal physical activity.

This information has been provided by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.