Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects about 1 in 15 Americans (or about 20 million people in the U.S.), according to the Centers for Disease Control. The number of asthma cases has been on the rise since the early 1980s.
Asthma is characterized by episodes or "attacks" in which the airways from the mouth and nose to the lungs temporarily become narrow due to a tightening of muscles that surround the bronchial wall and the production of excess mucus. There are many things that trigger asthma attacks, including allergens such as pollen or mold, irritants such as cigarette smoke, exercise and the weather.
There is no cure for asthma. It’s a disease that’s always present, even if there are no symptoms.
Learning to Live Well with Asthma
Ellis Medicine offers comprehensive asthma education programs that help children and adults live well with their disease.
Our Comprehensive Asthma Education Program incorporates the expertise of registered respiratory therapists who are nationally certified in asthma education, with best practices adapted from the National Institutes for Health’s Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.
Our therapists work directly with you to provide the education you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve your quality of life.
If you or someone you love has asthma, talk with your doctor about a referral to Ellis Medicine’s Asthma Education Program. If you would like more information, please contact us:
Asthma Education Program
Ellis Health Center
600 McClellan Street
Schenectady, NY 12304
Phone: 518.347.LUNG (5864)
Living with Asthma
Our asthma education programs can help you learn successful techniques to better manage your disease. This requires a take-charge approach that includes:
- Understanding the nature of the disease and the normal function of the lungs
- Appropriate use of medications
- Daily measurement of airflow (peak flow monitoring)
- Identifying the triggers that cause attacks
- Handling an acute episode
- Developing treatment plans that work
What You Can Expect
As a first step, we conduct a complete patient history to ensure an accurate diagnosis and to assist with an asthma severity classification. Our assessment addresses asthma knowledge, trigger recognition and trigger avoidance, family and social history and a sample asthma action plan that includes individual goals and treatments for achieving optimal outcomes. Pulmonary function testing is also completed if it has not previously been done.
Additionally, you will be given an asthma knowledge quiz, followed by a quality of life survey. You will be provided with a valve-holding chamber (spacer) and a peak flow meter following proper technique review and return demonstration.
Both individual and group education sessions are available and are provided over a consecutive six month period. We provide ongoing follow-up and support.
The program is covered by most insurance plans. A physician referral is required.
If you or someone you love has asthma, talk with your doctor about a referral to Ellis Medicine’s Asthma Education Program. If you would like more information, please call us at 518.347.LUNG (5864).
Triggers of Asthma
Flare-ups of asthma, often called "asthma attacks" generally occur as a result of such triggers as:
- Allergens such as pollen, animal dander and mold
- Smoking or second hand smoke
- Air pollutants
- Various food additives and preservatives
- Extreme heat and cold
- Stress and emotional turmoil
Symptoms of Asthma
In a mild case, asthma may have little or no impact on a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities. There are, however, warning signs that signal the onset of worsening symptoms or an acute asthma attack. These may include:
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Tightness in the chest or chest pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased use of bronchodilators
Ellis Medicine is proud to be the first hospital in the Capital Region to offer the Bronchial Thermoplasty procedure for patients with severe asthma.
Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) is an FDA approved treatment for asthma patients, over the age of 18, whose asthma is severe and not well controlled. This clinically proven procedure has been shown to improve quality of life for patients.
Benefits of Bronchial Thermoplasty
- Quick return to normal activities
- Improved asthma control
- Reduced frequency of asthma attacks
- Reduced visits to the emergency room
- Reduced hospitalization for respiratory symptoms
- Reduced missed days from work or school
About the Procedure
This outpatient procedure often takes less than an hour to complete. Using a bronchoscope, a physician inserts a catheter into the patient’s lungs through either the mouth or nose. The tip of the catheter is expanded to touch the walls of the airway, where it delivers controlled radiofrequency energy along the length of the airway walls in 10 second bursts. This heats the walls, reducing some of the extra muscle present, allowing the airways to stay open and help the patient breathe better.
The Bronchial Thermoplasty procedure is performed in three separate treatment sessions- each scheduled approximately three weeks apart. After each session, patients are monitored for 2-4 hours and discharged home the same day, where they can usually resume their everyday activities immediately.
Am I a candidate for Bronchial Thermoplasty?
Bronchial Thermoplasty is offered to those asthma patients who are categorized as "severe-persistent", and who are over the age of 18. Further consultation with a pulmonologist will help determine whether you are a proper candidate to benefit from this procedure.
To learn more about Bronchial Thermoplasty or the Asthma Care program at Ellis, please call 518.347.LUNG (5864).
If you or someone you love has asthma, talk with your doctor about a referral to Ellis Medicine's Asthma Education Program. If you would like more information, please call us at 518.347.LUNG (5864).
For your convenience, click here to download a physician referral form.