Having trouble inhaling or exhaling and feeling as though you can’t take in enough air can be scary. Difficulty breathing can result from a wide range of problems, including common colds, sinusitis, allergies, and asthma.
If your breathing issue, wheezing, and other problems, particularly those caused by allergies, are making your life miserable, it’s high time you should see an allergist.
Let’s talk about who an allergist is and why you should see one for your difficulty breathing.
Allergist: Who Are They?
Allergists, also known as immunologists, are medical doctors who receive specialized training in diagnosing and treating allergies and (allergic) asthma.
Allergies are when your body’s immune system reacts to substances (otherwise harmless) that come into contact with your body or enter your body. These can be pollen, pet dander, food, etc.
When an allergen activates the immune system (that is already hyperresponsive to the allergen), it releases a large number of inflammatory mediators that lead to swelling of your mucus membrane and airways. Resultingly, you experience shortness of breath and other symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.
Allergens, mostly environmental allergens, can affect your airways in two distinct ways, resulting in difficulty breathing. One way is allergic rhinitis, which leads to congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose, while the other way is allergic asthma (asthma that is triggered by an allergen) which can lead to shortness of breath or rapid breathing.
Why See an Allergist?
It’s a good idea to see an allergist for difficulty breathing to receive a:
If allergic rhinitis is the cause of your breathing difficulty, your allergist will first pinpoint the allergen that is causing your allergic rhinitis.
For this, they will assess your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and may do allergy tests, which may include a skin prick test and blood test. In some cases where difficulty breathing hints towards asthma, your allergy doctor may also perform an in-office pulmonary function test (PFTs) that measures how well your lungs are functioning.
Once the result of diagnostic tests is out, and the cause of your difficulty breathing is known, your allergist will provide you with tailor-made treatment.
If allergies are the cause of your shortness of breath, your allergy doctor may provide you with medications to relieve your symptoms. These may include antihistamines, bronchodilators, and nasal decongestants.
To treat your allergies once and for all, your allergist may also recommend oral immunotherapy – a therapy in which your allergen is administered in a very small but gradually increasing dose for a prescribed period.
If allergic asthma is the culprit of your shortness of breath and wheezing, an allergist may recommend inhalers as well as medications to open airways and fight the inflammation.
Allergy Doctor in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, and Plainfield, IL
Have shortness of breath, wheezing, and other allergy symptoms? Visit us here at Oak Brook Allergists. We have a team of highly trained and skilled allergy specialists who are ready to provide you with comprehensive and personalized treatment for your allergies and allergic asthma so that you can breathe easily.
Our allergists offer a wide range of treatment options, including medications, inhalers, and biological therapy or immunotherapy, which in some cases, patients can administer themselves.