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Asthma / COPD Specialist

Vijaya L Cherukuri, M.D. -  - Internal Medicine


Vijaya L Cherukuri, M.D.

Internal Medicine & Primary Care located in Saint Petersburg, FL

Chronic coughing, wheezing, and struggling to catch your breath are all alarming symptoms of respiratory distress that can be signs of either asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). With overlapping symptoms, the two conditions can be hard to differentiate. At Premier Health Care Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, Vijaya Cherukuri, MD, diagnoses and treats asthma and COPD. To determine what’s causing your respiratory distress, call or schedule an appointment online at the practice today.

Asthma / COPD Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. It can cause coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing, or a whistling sound when breathing.

Asthma can be a minor inconvenience for some or a life-threatening illness for others. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma, but close monitoring and medication can control symptoms.

What causes asthma?

While there isn’t a definitive reason why some people develop asthma and others don’t, experts believe the cause is a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Allergies, cold air, exercise, smoke, certain medications, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can trigger asthma attacks.

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disease that limits airflow from the lungs. Like asthma, COPD symptoms include coughing, excess mucus, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Typically, smoking or long-term exposure to irritating gasses causes COPD.

Despite being a progressive disease, proper management and medications control COPD.

What causes COPD?

In developed countries, smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Smoking and smoke irritate the lungs and damage the elasticity of the bronchial tubes and air sacs. Lungs can then over-expand, trapping air in the lungs during exhalation.

In about 1% of COPD patients, the cause is a genetic disorder that limits your production of a protein called AAT, which is important for protecting the lungs.

How are COPD and asthma treated?

Identifying and avoiding the triggers of an asthma attack are crucial toward treating the condition. Allergy medications and quick-relief and long-term asthma medications, including inhaled and oral medications, can also prevent asthma attacks and help with symptoms.

A combination of oral and inhaled steroids, lung therapies, and surgery are all used to treat COPD, depending on the severity of the condition.

Both COPD and asthma treatments benefit from the use of a nebulizer for long-term medicinal management. A nebulizer, a machine that turns liquid medications into a mist that you can inhale, allows the delivery of anti-inflammatory treatment straight into the lungs.

To identify the cause of your coughing and wheezing and obtain an effective treatment plan, call or book an appointment online with Dr. Cherukuri at Premier Health Care Inc.