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Asthma House Calls: Dr. Gital Patel on What Causes an Asthma Attack

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In this week’s Asthma House Calls, we sat down to talk with Dr. Gital Patel on reasons why so many children have asthma, why it’s so important to be on the look out for coughing spells in your child, why parents need to be on top of their child’s allergies, and how to talk to your child about their asthma.

In Part I of our interview, Dr. Patel discusses what asthma is, the reactions in your child’s airways which result in those scary asthma symptoms, and why it seems like so many children have asthma these days.

Dr. Gital Patel is with Premier Allergy of Ohio. Dr. Patel is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric and adult allergy and immunology. She has been involved in the latest asthma research and was recently published in the The Annals of of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Dr. Patel can be reached at Premiere Allergy.

For educational purposes only. Nothing in Asthma House Calls should be considered medical advice or a medical opinion. For medical advice, please consult your physician.

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Lisa: Hi everyone! It’s Lisa with LivingWithAsthma.net here with another of our Asthma House Calls where we get to sit down and talk to some of the very best doctors who treat children with asthma.

Today, we are here with Dr. Gital Patel of Premier Allergy of Ohio. Dr. Patel is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric and adult allergy and immunology. She has been involved in the latest asthma research and was recently published in the The Annals of of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Thanks, Dr. Patel! We’re so glad you could be with us!

Lisa: Now just to start. For those parents that may be at the beginning of their asthma journey, what is asthma and why does it seem like so many children have it?

Dr. Patel: Well, to start with, basically our lungs are made of small airways, which are just small tubes that carry the air in and out of our lungs and people that have asthma tend to have inflamed airways which makes them swollen and very sensitive. And so when they are in contact with an inhaled substance, they do tend to react pretty strongly and when that happens the muscles tighten around them which narrows the airways and that inhibits some of the airflow into the lungs and the cells in the airway can also make mucus and that can be a sticky, thick liquid and that can also make those airways pretty narrow.

We are seeing a lot more children in general being diagnosed with asthma. The CDC says the prevalence has increased just since 1980 to 1996 250% and that largest increase is in children younger than 18 years of age.

Why is that happening? There’s a lot of different theories, I don’t think anyone knows for sure what exactly is causing it, one thing is called a hygiene hypothesis which has to do with, we are just a cleaner society in general these days so our bodies are not exposed to as many bacteria and other infectious pathogens so that kind of puts an imbalance in our immune systems and then the allergies tend to react a little bit.

There’s also some more indoor air pollution. We are seeing more early onset and viral infections in the lungs. Things like that may explain why we are seeing it more now and also just increased awareness and more recognition of asthma by patients and by clinicians.

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Read more of our interview with Dr. Gital Patel:

Part II (Signs of Childhood Asthma)

Part III (The Asthma and Allergies Connection)

Part IV (Asthma, Meds and Side Effects)

Part V (Staying Out of the Emergency Room)

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How about you? What triggers your child’s asthma?

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