Asthma

Stephen Payne, MD -  - Family Medicine

Stephen Payne, MD

Family Medicine located in Williamstown, MA

One in 13 people have asthma and, while it’s most common in children, adults are at higher risk of asthma-related complications, including death. Practicing in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Stephen Payne, MD is an experienced family physician treating asthma and lung diseases in people of all ages. To manage your asthma symptoms and reduce the frequency of your attacks, call Dr. Payne or schedule an appointment online.

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic pulmonary condition that affects your lungs and breathing. During an asthma attack, your bronchial tubes become inflamed and narrow. This reduces oxygen flow to your lungs and makes breathing difficult.

The exact cause of asthma is unknown, but it’s usually due to a combination of environmental and hereditary factors. Several conditions can trigger asthma attacks, such as:

  • Severe heartburn
  • Certain medications
  • Intense activity or exercise
  • Food or airborne allergies

Dr. Payne works closely with you to determine your asthma triggers to develop a personalized treatment strategy for your symptoms.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma symptoms can be mild or severe, and typically include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or whistling
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Shortness of breath

Asthma symptoms are very similar to another pulmonary disorder called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  While approximately 40% of people with COPD also have asthma, the conditions are different.

What is COPD?

Unlike asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a term that describes progressive lung diseases like chronic bronchitis or emphysema, where breathing becomes more difficult over time.

COPD is often caused by lung damage from smoking or exposure to irritating fumes, though in rare cases a genetic disorder is to blame. While COPD and asthma share common symptoms, those associated with COPD are usually due to respiratory infections like the flu or environmental pollutants.

When you have COPD, it’s essential to receive a diagnosis as early as possible to preserve your current and future lung health.

How is asthma diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Payne reviews your symptoms and medical history with a thorough physical exam. During your appointment, he measures your breathing function using a spirometry test. This test enables Dr. Payne to see how much air you can breathe in and out, as well as how quickly you can expel air from your lungs.

Depending on your asthma attack triggers, Dr. Payne might also recommend allergy testing because the conditions are closely related.

Call Stephen Payne, MD, or schedule an appointment online to see how Dr. Payne can help manage your asthma or other lung diseases.