Allergies and Asthma Specialist

Allergies and Asthma

Allergies and Asthma services offered in Texas, Houston, TX

Allergies and asthma may begin in childhood and persist throughout your adult years. You can also have your first allergy or asthma attack at any age, whether you’re 20 or 60. Anand Balasubramanian, MD, PA, offers ongoing adult care at his self-owned practice for allergies and asthma, providing in-office testing and customized treatment plans that reduce the severity and frequency of future attacks. To schedule an appointment, call one of the two offices in Houston, Texas, or request an appointment online today.

What causes allergies?

Allergies develop when your immune system overreacts and labels a safe substance as something that’s harmful for your body. When you inhale, touch, or consume that substance in the future, it triggers an immune response, and your allergy symptoms flare up.

What symptoms do allergies cause?

The symptoms you develop depend on your specific allergen. For example, airborne allergens like pollen cause nose and eye symptoms.

As a group, allergies cause symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Congested nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Headaches
  • Skin rash
  • Hives

Allergies to latex, insects, food, and medications may cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms like dizziness, difficulty breathing, and swelling in your tongue and throat occur rapidly during an anaphylactic reaction and require immediate emergency care.

What causes asthma?

Asthma occurs when your airways are overly sensitive to certain irritants. When the irritant enters your lungs, the airways become inflamed and swollen, and produce excessive mucus. The muscles lining the airways also tighten. These changes make it hard to breathe and cause an asthma attack.

During an asthma attack (flare-up), you experience symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Cough (that's usually worse at night)

Many people with asthma also develop chronic congestion, a runny nose, or sinusitis.

What triggers allergy and asthma attacks?

More than half of people with asthma have allergic asthma. As a result, allergens trigger their asthma attacks.

Whether you have allergies or allergic asthma, the most common allergens include:

  • Pollen (grasses, trees, flowers, weeds)
  • Poison ivy, oak, and sumac
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Cockroach waste
  • Insect venom
  • Certain medications
  • Food proteins
  • Nickel
  • Latex

Though allergic asthma most often occurs due to allergens you inhale, most of the items in this list can cause an asthma attack. While food proteins don’t usually cause asthma, some food additives may serve as asthma triggers. 

What triggers nonallergic asthma?

People with nonallergic asthma have flare-ups in response to:

  • Inhaling cold air
  • Certain medications
  • Household chemicals
  • Industrial chemicals and dust
  • Viral infections
  • Air pollution
  • Tobacco smoke

You may also have an asthma attack when you start exercising.

How are allergies and asthma diagnosed?

Dr. Balasubramanian begins by reviewing your symptoms and completing a physical exam. If your symptoms suggest asthma, he performs lung function tests such as spirometry.

When your symptoms point to allergies or allergic asthma, Dr. Balasubramanian does in-office allergy testing. Most people get a skin prick test, which gives results in about 15 minutes. In some cases, you may need a patch or blood test.

How are allergies and asthma treated?

Allergies and asthma require treatments such as:

  • Identifying and eliminating triggers or allergens.
  • Medications to ease symptoms (for allergies and asthma)
  • Quick-relief inhaler (for asthma attacks)
  • Daily medications (to prevent or reduce the severity of asthma flares)
  • Allergy shots (for allergies and allergic asthma)

If you need expert care for allergy or asthma, call Anand Balasubramanian, MD, PA, or request an appointment online today.

 Anand Balasubramanian, MD