What is Asthma?

Asthma is a long term condition involving the respiratory tract. In asthmatics, the airways occasionally constrict, become inflamed, and can have excessive amounts of mucus, often in response to one or more triggers. Exacerbations may be triggered by such things as exposure to allergens, smoke (from tobacco or wood-burning fireplaces), cold or warm air, perfume, pet dander, moist air, exercise or exertion, or emotional stress. In kids, the most common triggers are viral illnesses such as those that cause the common cold. This airway narrowing causes symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. The airway constriction responds to bronchodilators (i.e. albuterol) but these do not fix the inflammation. Between episodes, most patients feel well but can have mild symptoms and they may remain short of breath after exercise for longer periods of time than the unaffected individual. Asthma symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening but they can usually be controlled with a combination of medications and environmental changes.


Current treatment plans recommend prevention medications such as an inhaled steroids (helps to decrease inflammation and swelling of the airways) in anyone who has frequent symptoms. This includes daytime symptoms more than twice a week or greater than two nights a month. If symptoms persist, additional preventive medications are added until the asthma is controlled. With the proper use of preventive medications, asthma should not keep your child from doing anything they want to do.

Asthmatics sometimes stop taking their preventive medication when they feel Fine, but this can result in further attacks and no long-term improvement so talk with your provider first.


Spirometry is a testing method we use that gives an objective assessment of your child’s lung functions. Unlike a simple blood draw, Spirometry testing involves the patient blowing as hard and long as possible into the Spirometry apparatus. At NWSP we use the most recent technology for spirometry testing and our providers take time to review and interpret. A follow-up appointment is made, usually, a day or two later, so that your provider can go over the results with you and if needed, develop an effective asthma plan.

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We are located at 220 E. Rowan Ave. Ste. #150 in Spokane, Washington (99207). Our office hours are Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm. Schedule an appointment with us today – we look forward to seeing you soon!