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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Chicagoland: Better Breathing in 2013
In Chicago spirometry, asthma maintenance, and better air quality lead the way to improved lung function, says asthma and allergy specialist, Dr. Brian Rotskoff

CHICAGO, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Getting a breath of fresh air isn't as easy as it sounds. Especially if you're one of 25 million Americans who suffer from asthma-and live in a pollution-rich city like Chicago. "The majority of asthma cases are due to allergic-asthma," explains Clarity Allergy Center's asthma and allergy expert, Dr. Brian Rotskoff. "In an area like Chicago where pollutants and environmental conditions constantly fluctuate, clear breathing can be a challenge."

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Breathing conditions like asthma can be a drain on health, happiness, and productivity in adults and children. Dr. Rotskoff routinely treats allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, childhood nasal allergies, chronic cough, and more. "The best place to start," he says. "Is with a thorough evaluation of your current breathing capacity and symptoms, and an understanding of what specifically affects your breathing." A pulmonary function test to measure lung capacity provides a good baseline.

What is a lung function test?

The pulmonary function test is a simple breathing test to gauge lung capacity-the volume and velocity of inhaled and exhaled air. Dr. Rotskoff starts most patients with a computerized spirometry test to evaluate breathing limitations and treatment needs. The test is repeated several times during a single appointment, sometimes with the introduction of an inhaled broncho-dilator. This lets Dr. Rotskoff explore the impact of potential treatments on the lungs. "The test is easy to administer for all ages, but the results can be very telling," he says. With these results and allergy testing, Dr. Rotskoff starts asthma patients with maintenance inhalers or rescue inhalers, depending on need and lifestyle.

Chicago Air Quality Fails, Other Illinois Cities Among Cleanest

In May 2012, the American Lung Association (ALA) released a State of the Air report (see ranking four Illinois cities among the cleanest in air quality:  Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Peoria-Canton, and Springfield, Illinois. Measuring air quality in cities across the country, they analyzed conditions such as particle pollutions from work or traffic-related debris and ozone pollution from smog.

Chicagoland itself, however, ranked very high for ozone pollution and particle pollution. "When you live in or near a big city your exposure to air pollutants is bound to be higher. It's important for those with pre-existing breathing conditions to seek a precise diagnosis, stay ahead of symptoms, and optimize breathing health," says Dr. Rotskoff. Air pollution can pose serious problems for those with asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Positive Steps in Particle Pollution

Strong action is now being taken against soot, one of the most dangerous air pollutants in the U.S., according to an Obama Administration announcement just weeks ago. As the result of combined efforts from the American Lung Association and the National Parks Conservation Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set more protective standards for the country. 

"This is clearly a positive step, especially for children with asthma," commented Dr. Rotskoff. "Improving air quality is a vital component of managing and reducing breathing conditions in kids."

Contact Clarity Allergy Center for an appointment in Chicago or Arlington Heights, 773-877-3500.


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