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About Asthma

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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that narrows and irritates the airways of the lungs. Affecting nearly 24 million Americans, asthma is a very common, but non-contagious respiratory disease that usually begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. The effects of asthma vary in severity from person to person.

Common symptoms of asthma include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

There is no common cause of asthma. Asthma attacks may be caused by exposure to allergens, illness, exercise, or irritants such as dust and mold. For some people, these attacks are little more than an annoyance, but others may experience extreme, even life-threatening attacks that require immediate medical attention.

Unfortunately, asthma cannot be cured. It can, however, be managed. Along with medication, the symptoms of asthma can be controlled with some lifestyle changes and preventative measures. Talk to your doctor right away if you experience periodic difficulty breathing, sudden coughing, or chest tightness.

Common Medication
Treatment Options

Doctors and providers on Sesame offer the following medications often used to treat asthma for just $5 with free delivery. Book a visit today to discuss if the following medication can be part of a treatment for asthma.

Note that all prescriptions are at your provider's discretion.

Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be managed in a way that allows you to continue your daily activities as normal. Prevention and medication are the best options for treating asthma. Below is a description of treatment options for asthma. During your appointment, talk to your doctor or provider about what plan might work best for you.

FAQs

Asthma Care

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that narrows and irritates the airways of the lungs. Even though asthma affects nearly 24 million Americans every year, it is non-contagious. Instead, the disease often develops early in childhood and continues on into adulthood.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma develops over an individual’s lifetime and may vary in severity from person to person. Most people experience the symptoms of asthma during an “asthma attack” - or, an episode triggered potentially triggered by factors above, that results in sensations commonly associated with the condition.

These common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing episodes
- Wheezing while exhaling (a sort of whistling rasp as you breathe out)
- Chest tightness


More severe cases of asthma may cause chronic problems such as:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent asthma attacks
- Increased need for an inhaler (especially after physical activity)


While most asthma attacks are manageable with a quick-relief inhaler, certain triggers or a worsening condition can lead to severe - potentially life-threatening - episodes.

Seek emergency medical attention if you experience:
- Shortness of breath that becomes rapidly worse
- Shortness of breath after minimal physical exertion
- No improvement in breathing after using a quick-relief inhaler

What causes asthma?

There is no common cause of asthma, although it is widely agreed that a combination of genetics (inheriting the condition from a parent) and environment play significant roles in who develops it and who doesn’t. Asthma often develops throughout an individual’s life, usually first appearing during childhood. The severity of asthma may vary from person to person. Many people with asthma experience infrequent attacks that can lead to wheezing and shortness of breath, while others may experience persistent difficulty breathing.

The most common triggers of asthma attacks are:
- Allergens such as mold, pollen, dust, and pet dander
- Physical activity
- Pollutants and irritants such as smog and secondhand smoke
- Cold air
- Respiratory infections (like a common cold)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Sulfites and preservatives found in food

What happens if asthma is left untreated?

If left untreated, asthma can lead to severe attacks that may be potentially life-threatening. In addition to these emergency situations, long-term asthma that is left untreated can result in narrowed airways that carry oxygen to and from the lungs. This affects your ability to breathe while performing daily activities.

What are the risk factors for developing asthma?

While there is no common cause of asthma, several factors may increase the risk that you or your child develop the condition. These risk factors include:

- Genetics: Asthma is often passed from parent to child.

- Allergies: Individuals who experience allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, skin rashes, and itchy eyes may also develop asthma triggered by allergens.

- Smoking: Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can dramatically increase your or your child’s risk of developing asthma.

- Pollutants: Exposure to pollutants, cleaning chemicals, and fumes (like exhaust) can increase your risk of developing asthma.

- Weight: Being overweight may increase your risk of developing correlated health conditions, such as asthma.

Should I see a doctor if I think I have asthma?

Absolutely. If you notice that you or your child are experiencing symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing after physical activity or shortness of breath, talk to a health care provider as soon as you can. While many people experience mild symptoms during an asthma attack, these episodes can be life-threatening in severe cases.

Like other chronic conditions, asthma requires management and medical care. It will not go away on its own, and it cannot be cured. Because of this, it is crucial that you seek medical attention for symptoms of asthma. Your provider can help you determine the potential triggers of your asthma and provide medication to help alleviate symptoms during an attack.

How is asthma treated?

While asthma cannot be cured, it can be managed with a combination of preventative measures and medication.

Medication prescribed for the treatment of asthma generally falls into two categories: quick-relief and long-term control. These methods of treatment are detailed below.

Quick-relief:

- Inhaled bronchodilators: These inhaled medications work quickly to ease the muscles surrounding the airways in the lungs, reducing the physical symptoms of an asthma attack. Bronchodilators (drugs such as albuterol or levalbuterol) can be administered through an inhaler or nebulizer (a machine that mists medication through a mouthpiece).

- Anticholinergics: Anticholinergic agents (ipratropium or tiotropium) quickly relax the airways in the lungs, which can help make breathing easier.

- Oral/ intravenous (IV) corticosteroids: Drugs such as prednisone and methylprednisolone may be administered through a tablet or intravenous injection to quickly reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of asthma.

Long-term control:

- Corticosteroids: These drugs may be administered as a daily tablet or through an inhaler. Corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation caused by asthma. These drugs (such as budesonide or fluticasone furoate) can cause adverse side effects. Talk to your doctor about whether or not corticosteroids are the right treatment for you.

- Leukotriene modifiers: Leukotrienes are chemicals released by the body when it comes into contact with an irritant. These drugs (such as montelukast) stop the production of leukotrienes, reducing inflammation and the physical symptoms of an asthma attack.

- Biologic medicine: If other forms of medicinal therapy haven’t worked for you, your doctor may prescribe a biologic medication such as omalizumab, mepolizumab, dupilumab, reslizumab, or benralizumab to treat the antibody, molecule, or cell receptor involved in asthma. Biologic medications work by targeting the specific underlying cause of asthma. These drugs are only used for the treatment of severe asthma if other forms of therapy have failed to work effectively.

How can I treat asthma at home?

Asthma cannot be completely treated with at-home solutions. However, there are several steps you can take to minimize your risk of having an attack and improve your quality of life. These therapies include:

- Exercise: Regular exercise can help strengthen the lungs and heart, which can reduce the risk of an asthma attack. Some people experience asthmatic symptoms during exercise, so talk to your doctor about what form of physical activity is right for you.

- Keep a clean space: Keep surfaces of your home clean from dust and mold. If you have pets, make sure to clean frequently to avoid the buildup of pet dander on surfaces and in the air of your home. These small steps can help rid your space of common irritants that cause asthma attacks.

- Quit smoking: This is a no-brainer. Smoking damages your air pathways and the tissue of your lungs, increasing the risk of asthma attacks. Even vaping can lead to symptoms of asthma. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible.

- Eat a clean diet: Obesity can make it hard to treat symptoms of asthma. Along with physical activity, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help maintain heart health and reduce the risk of an asthma attack. Additionally, acid reflux can contribute to symptoms of asthma, so eating foods that help control heartburn (like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) can also help prevent asthma attacks.

Can asthma be cured?

Unfortunately, no. Once an individual develops asthma, they will need to manage the condition for the rest of their life. This requires a care plan created in partnership with a health care provider that can help detect triggers, schedule medication administration, and introduce options for how to manage an attack.

In addition to a care plan, it is highly recommended that individuals dealing with asthma stay up-to-date on influenza and pneumonia vaccinations. These viruses can target the respiratory system in the body (the organs responsible for moving oxygen into - and through - the body). Flu or pneumonia infections can seriously affect your ability to breathe and may trigger a severe asthma attack. Vaccination against these diseases can help prevent emergencies.

What kind of doctor should I see about my asthma?

In most cases, a primary care provider (such as a family medicine doctor, internal medicine doctor, or pediatrician) can test for - and diagnose - asthma. Asthma can be diagnosed through a physical exam, a test of lung function, or diagnostic imaging - usually a chest X-ray.

If your primary care provider suspects that your asthma may be caused by an allergic reaction, they may choose to refer you to an allergist who can work with you to determine the trigger and plan methods to avoid attacks.

Now, with telehealth platforms like Sesame, it is easier than ever to get answers to whatever health care questions you may have. Not sure about where to turn? Book an in-person or video appointment with a licensed provider on Sesame to discuss your symptoms and talk through treatment options. Doctors on Sesame can diagnose conditions, offer medical advice, and prescribe medication - if appropriate. If a follow-up appointment is needed, we will reach out to you after your first appointment to figure out the next steps in your treatment.

How do I find primary care near me?

Right here! Sesame makes it easier than ever to find a real, quality primary care provider in Portland, OR. If you're a new patient looking for health care, it can be hard to know where to start- especially if you don't have an insurance plan.

Sesame works directly with doctors - not insurance companies - so you never have to worry about limited networks or expensive copays. Same-day appointments and telehealth visits available. See the doctor you want to see on your schedule and save up to 60% on health care with Sesame. It's that simple.

Is family medicine the same as primary care?

In most cases, yes. Primary care is an umbrella term to describe medical care that treats a wide range of health-related issues. Primary care providers (PCPs) are usually the first doctors a patient will see if they aren't feeling well or are looking for a referral. Primary care is divided into two forms of health services: family medicine and internal medicine.

  • Family medicine: Family medicine refers to healthcare provided for the whole family. A family medicine doctor is a primary care provider who mostly offers preventive care like immunizations, checkups, and medical advice. Doctors trained in family practice can treat patients of all ages from pediatrics to geriatrics, so they often act as the healthcare provider for whole families.

  • Internal medicine: An internal medicine doctor (or internist) provides primary medical care for adults only. Internal medicine doctors diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions for adult patients and provide medical advice to improve general wellness. Internal medicine doctors will offer referrals to a specialist if a patient is dealing with a specific condition.

What do primary care physicians do?

Primary care physicians (PCPs) can diagnose, treat, and help prevent a variety of acute and chronic conditions, including:

Check-ups & Screenings

PCPs can provide the following routine check-up and diagnostic services
- Blood pressure screening
- Heartbeat monitoring (EKGs)
- Lung tests (spirometry)
- Cancer screenings (such as for breast cancer, testicular cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer)
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Development disorder testing


Illness and injury care

Primary care physicians can help treat minor injuries and common illnesses, including:
- Common cold
- Flu
- Asthma
- Migraines
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Yeast infections
- Rashes
- Broken bone treatment (casting, splints, braces)


Preventative care and general wellness

Primary care physicians can play a key role in preventative care, general wellness, and disease prevention for a range of acute and chronic conditions. A primary care physician can offer medical advice, treat chronic conditions and injury, or refer you to a specialized doctor for further care if needed.

What do you see a primary care provider for?

Primary care providers can treat all sorts of conditions and issues. From women's health to sports medicine, PCPs have the training and experience to be able to address a number of health concerns.

Primary care providers can offer:
- Routine checkups
- Annual physical exams
- Immunizations
- Urgent care
- Blood pressure testing (to check for hypertension and heart disease)
- Injury treatment (stitches, casting, splinting)
- Medication prescription
- Medical advice for general wellness


Primary care providers can usually answer most medical questions you may have. If you need a specialist, a PCP can offer a referral for a qualified doctor with the knowledge and expertise to treat you.

What conditions can a primary care physician treat?

Primary care physicians have extensive experience diagnosing, treating, and managing a range of acute and chronic conditions for patients of all ages, including:
- Cold, flu, and other acute illnesses
- UTIs and other vaginal infections
- Rashes, warts, moles, and other skin conditions
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE)
- Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Developmental disorders
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions

What is prednisone?

Prednisone (generic for Deltasone) is a prescription medication used to treat a wide range of conditions, such as inflammation, arthritis, severe allergies, blood conditions, skin conditions, immune system disorders, and more. It is available as an immediate-release tablet, a delayed-release tablet, and a liquid solution.

What is prednisone used to treat?

While the FDA has approved prednisone to treat a broad range of conditions, the drug primarily works by targeting and reducing inflammation - and is often prescribed for conditions in which inflammation or swelling are present.

It may be used, for example, as replacement therapy for patients with low naturally occurring glucocorticoid levels. Glucocorticoids are generally produced by the body and are needed for the body to function normally.

It may also be used to treat conditions like severe allergies, adrenal problems, arthritis, asthma, blood or bone marrow problems, autoimmune disorders, skin conditions, kidney problems, and multiple sclerosis flare-ups. Prednisone can even be used in cancer treatments and to suppress the immune system in patients receiving organ transplants.

What are the most common side effects of prednisone?

Prednisone is generally considered a safe medication for short-term use and most side effects tend to be rare and mild. Common side effects include loss of appetite, weight gain, confusion, excitement, restlessness, headache, nausea, acne, heartburn, increased sweating, and trouble sleeping. If these are mild, they may go away within a few days as your body gets used to the treatment. If they do not go away or worsen, consult your doctor.

Some side effects may be serious. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe allergic reactions, eye pain or vision problems, any signs of infections, seizures, depression, uncontrollable shaking, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or an irregular heartbeat.

Be sure to make your doctor aware of any known allergies as well as all prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, and supplements that you may be taking.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. For more information on adverse effects you may experience while taking prednisone, visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

How long does it take for prednisone to work?

You will generally feel the effects of Prednisone within 1 to 2 hours. Delayed-release tablets start working in about 6 hours.

How does prednisone work?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid, a synthetic version of a chemical naturally produced by your body. Corticosteroids block inflammation in the body, suppressing immune responses to irritants and other conditions. This is helpful for treating conditions in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s own tissues.

Prednisone’s anti-inflammatory properties are key in treating arthritis and asthma.

What is Methylprednisolone?

Methylprednisolone is a prescription anti-inflammatory medication. It is used to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, blood disorders, certain cancers, severe allergic reactions, eye conditions, immune system disorders, and diseases of the skin, kidneys, intestines, or lungs. It belongs to a family of medications called glucocorticoids, which reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.

What is Methylprednisolone used to treat?

As an anti-inflammatory steroid, methylprednisolone may be used to treat a wide range of conditions. Usually, it’s used for autoimmune disorders, cancer, conditions related to swelling, such as:

Allergic reactions Conditions related to blood cells or platelets Conditions related to transplanted organs Skin conditions Nervous system conditions Kidney conditions Lung conditions Eye conditions Fever and inflammation Gout Lupus Multiple sclerosis Multiple types of arthritis Pneumonia

What are the most common side effects of Methylprednisolone?

While there are some common side effects associated with methylprednisolone, it is important to remember that your doctor prescribed this medication because its benefits - bringing inflammation back under control - outweigh its possible adverse effects.

Common side effects of Methylprednisolone include, but are not limited to:

Upset stomach Stomach irritation Vomiting Headache Dizziness Insomnia Restlessness Depression Anxiety Acne Increased hair growth Easy bruising Disrupted menstrual periods

These side effects may get better over time as your body gets used to the medication. Let your doctor know if these symptoms persist or worsen over time. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

Skin rash Swollen face, lower legs, or ankles Vision problems Cold or infection that lasts a long time Muscle weakness Black or tarry stool

This is not a complete list of side effects associated with methylprednisolone. To learn more about adverse effects you may experience while taking this drug, please visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

How long does it take for Methylprednisolone to work?

Once taking Methylprednisolone, it will be a few days to a few weeks before you begin to feel the effects of the drug. How long you take Methylprednisolone will depend on the condition you are treating.

How does Methylprednisolone work?

Methylprednisolone is an anti-inflammatory steroid that blocks your immune system from releasing into the body the chemicals that cause inflammation and uncomfortable symptoms.

Inflammation is a bodily response that your immune system uses to attack harmful substances and heal trauma. Problems, however, can occur when your immune system loses the ability to control inflammation and triggers inflammatory responses without reason - leading to painful, irritating symptoms that can cause chronic conditions.

Methylprednisolone works by blocking the chemicals that are released during inflammation responses. Inhibiting these chemicals reduces swelling and inflammation and relieves pain.

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