Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the breathing passages (bronchi) of the lungs. Asthma is characterized by sudden attacks or periods of bothersome or severe symptoms separated by periods of mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. The inflammatory reaction of asthma is triggered by external factors or specific situations. When a person with asthma is exposed to one of his or her triggers, the inflammation worsens and symptoms begin.
The list of possible triggers of asthma is lengthy and varied.
Each individual with asthma has his or her own specific trigger or set of triggers.
These triggers generally are related to the way we breathe or the condition of the atmosphere we breathe in.
Triggers include contaminants in the air, such as smoke, pollution, vapors, dust, or other particles; respiratory infections, such as colds and flu (viruses); allergens in the air, such as molds, animal dander, and pollen; extremes of temperature or humidity; and emotional stress.
Exercise can even induce an asthma attack in people who have no other triggers and do not experience asthma under any other circumstances.
People with exercise-induced asthma are believed to be more sensitive to changes in the temperature and humidity of the air.
When you are at rest, you breathe through your nose, which serves to warm, humidify, and cleanse the air you
inhale to make it more like the air in the lungs.
When you are exercising, you breathe through your mouth, and the air that hits your lungs is colder and drier. The contrast between the
warm air in the lungs and the cold inhaled air or the dry inhaled air and moist air in the lungs, can trigger an attack.
Once the attack is triggered, the airways begin to swell (bronchospasm) and secrete large amounts of mucus.
The swelling and extra mucus partially block or obstruct the airways. This makes it more difficult to push air out of your lungs (exhale).
For some forms of asthma, it is important that chronic maintenance medication are used to prevent the development of COPD. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled by medication. Fortunately, in those with only exercise-induced asthma (EIA), maintenance therapy is often not required and medication can simply be taken before exercise.
With appropriate treatment, almost everyone with EIA can enjoy the mental and physical benefits of regular exercise.
The large number of elite athletes who have asthma attests to the effectiveness of asthma medication.
Whether you walk around your neighborhood or run marathons, asthma doesn't need to stop you from reaching your exercise goals.