Asthma is a chronic condition that causes the airways to narrow and become inflamed, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the lungs and making it difficult to breathe. When the airways are inflamed, they are more sensitive and narrow. When trying to inhale, the irritated airways overreact and the muscles around them temporarily constrict (tighten), limiting the flow of air. This results in coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Persistent swelling of the bronchial tubes, which carry oxygen to the smaller branches of the lungs, also contributes to the long-term damage asthma causes in the lungs, making it even more important to treat the inflammation. Asthma attacks can occur at any time, but physical activity such as sports or exercise often triggers an attack.
UAB Pulmonary Services is ranked among the best programs of its kind in the nation, and our physicians are consistently listed among the Best Doctors in America for respiratory disease. We serve patients at our main campus and also at our convenient neighborhood clinics in Hoover and Gardendale.
Most UAB Pulmonary Services doctors are triple board-certified in internal medicine, critical care, and pulmonary medicine. They serve on national boards and specialty organizations, speak at national conferences, publish in scientific and medical journals, and help conduct research that is recognized nationally and internationally. Our physicians are continually seeking new ways to treat lung disease and improve the techniques and care for transplant patients while contributing to the body of knowledge about lung disease. We have the only nationally accredited Sleep Medicine Fellowship Training Program in Alabama.
Many UAB Pulmonary Services physicians carry out research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to gain a better understanding of lung disease and its treatments or help turn new discoveries into therapies. Our physicians have served as presidents of many national societies, including the American College of Chest Physicians, the Association of Subspecialty Professors, and the Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors. The excellence of our clinical and research programs has been recognized with our membership in the NIH-funded COPD and IPF Clinical Research networks (COPDnet and IPFnet, respectively), as well as the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Research Network and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Therapeutics Development Network. The World Association of Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders (WASOG) and the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) have recognized UAB as a Sarcoidosis Center of Excellence.
UAB interventional pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons collaborate in treating lung cancer with less invasive procedures.
Medical Minute: Pulmonary & Thoracic Surgery
Hitesh Batra, MD, and Benjamin Wei, MD, discuss the collaborative relationship between UAB Medicine's interventional pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons and how less invasive treatments for lung nodules and lung cancer lead to faster recovery times.
Low-Dose CT Screening for Lung Cancer
Low-dose CT (computed tomography) screening for lung cancer is a way of finding tumors before they become too advanced and become difficult to treat successfully. This screening method has been shown to reduce the risk of death from lung cancer in high-risk patients by 20% compared to chest X-ray alone. However, many lung nodules (growths) detected from the low-dose CT screening are not cancerous, so follow-up CT scans or other tests may be needed to determine the presence of cancer.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT scans in adults age 55-80 who have a 30-pack-per-year smoking history and currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years. Medicare approved screening for patients age 55-77, and this is the age group that UAB Medicine provides screening for. Screening is stopped once a person has not smoked for 15 years, develops a health problem that seriously limits life expectancy, or does not wish to have lung surgery. The CT scan itself lasts only about 20 seconds. Patients being screened are asked to hold their breath for a few seconds as the scan is performed. All patients must be referred for the test by a physician after a shared decision-making appointment. It is important that a responsible health care provider manages follow-up care for patients with a positive test.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for Asthma. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials