It is unfortunate that asthma has no cure. Therefore, asthma treatment revolves around controlling the disease so that its symptoms do not cause attacks which can be quite severe and even life-threatening. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows that one person out of every fourteen suffers from asthma. Additionally, the disease ranks top in the country’s most expensive diseases to treat.
Asthma control entails prevention of symptoms that make breathing difficult and cause shortness of breath. Such troublesome symptoms are often chronic and are due to the airways narrowing by the accumulation of mucus or swelling. Proper control of asthma also involves maintaining good health of the respiratory system, especially the lung function. Over and above that, another primary objective of managing asthma is to prevent asthma attacks that come unexpectedly and may require emergency treatment.
The doctor will prescribe medications depending on the severity of your condition, age, and the potential asthma triggers. Asthma control drugs are categorized into long-term and short-term medications.
Preventative long-term medications
Long-term asthma medications are taken on a daily basis. Users of the medications are less likely to develop those unwanted, highly-dangerous asthma attacks. Inhaled corticosteroids are the safest for use as they have a low risk of side effects. However, maximum results from corticosteroid use can only be seen after weeks of use.
Inhalers, though not a very safe option, are also another alternative for asthma treatment. They work by opening up the airways. Since their use has been linked to attacks, health experts will prescribe corticosteroid alongside the inhaler for safety purposes.
Your doctor may also recommend the use of bronchodilators such as theophylline. Though not in use as it were in the previous years, theophylline opens up the airways by relaxing the muscles.
Also known as quick-relief, or rescue medications, these are drugs that are used to relieve an asthma attack. Some doctors may also recommend rescue medications before undertaking vigorous exercises. Often, they are bronchodilators which act quickly to open up the airways during an asthma attack. During emergencies, you will notice that they are administered using a mask or a mouthpiece. This is because they are converted into a fine mist for quick action by a machine known as a nebulizer.
Another short-term treatment for asthma is Atrovent, which is a bronchodilator that acts on the airways opening them up for air to pass. Intravenous corticosteroids could also be taken to relieve inflammation of the breathing passageways caused by severe asthma.
There is no reason why people with asthma should not lead fulfilling and unrestricted lives. Medication has made this dream possible. However, the asthmatic and their doctors should make concerted efforts and work to help manage and prevent possible asthma attacks.