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Asthma Treatments and Drugs

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Unfortunately asthma has no known cure and is a chronic type of disease. The aim of asthma therapy, therefore, is to control the symptoms and their frequency. Asthma treatment should:

  • Block bouts of asthma which may necessitate hospitalization
  • Enable you to live a normal life and help you sleep well at night
  • Enable you to enjoy healthy lung function
  • Lessen your need for instant relief medications
  • Hinder discomforting and chronic symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing

There are two kinds of asthma medications: one is instant relief drugs and the other is drugs for long-term asthma management. Instant relief drugs are used during asthma exacerbations while long-term control drugs help block asthma symptoms and address airway inflammation.

The first asthma treatment you will receive will be based on the seriousness of your symptoms. Followup therapy will be based on the rate of success of your treatment plan and will involve the prevention of future exacerbations and the management of symptoms.

Your ability to control your asthma can fluctuate over time and can be affected by situations in your work place, school or home. These situations may change your exposure to the things that aggravate your asthma.

The doctor usually increases the dosage of your medications or even adds more medicines you need to take if your present medicines are not enough to control your asthma. And if your symptoms are well controlled after many months, the physician can then lessen your medicine intake.

You can map out with your physician an asthma treatment plan. This can entail your daily treatments like medications to use and when to use them. Going to the emergency room or calling the doctor when needed should also be part of the plan.

People who take care of your asthmatic child like camp workers, schools, daycare centers and babysitters should be aware and properly follow your child’s asthma treatment plan.

Long-Term Control Medicines

These medicines are used to better manage and prevent symptoms. Drugs that address airway inflammation are considered good long-term meds. These types of drugs; however, are not effective in providing instant relief from symptoms.

Inhaled corticosteroids – These are the long term medications usually prescribed by doctors for long-term asthma management. They address swelling and inflammation of airways that are quite sensitive to specific inhaled materials. In hindering inflammation, the series of reactions that eventually lead to symptoms can be stopped.

As long as they’re used as prescribed, inhaled corticosteroids are quite safe to use. They, nevertheless, do have side effects although not as bad as the symptoms they effectively prevent. One side effect of these meds is thrush. You can prevent this side effect by attaching a holding chamber or a using a spacer on your inhaler to prevent the corticosteroid from going to the back of your throat or staying in your mouth. You can also just rinse your mouth with water to wash out the inhaled corticosteroid to minimize the risk of thrush.

Other medications used for long-term asthma control include:

  • Theophylline – Used to widen the airways
  • Leukotriene modifier – Taken orally and prevents the sequences of events that aggravates airways inflammation
  • Inhaled long-acting beta2-agonists –These widen the airways
  • Omalizumab (anti-IgE) – Administered by injection once or twice a month. Inhibits the body’s reaction to asthma triggers like dust and pollen.
  • Cromolyn – Medication taken through a nebulizer. Cromolyn suppresses inflammation of the airways

Long-term medications should only be discontinued if the doctor says so. If you stop taking them without doctor’s orders your symptoms will only get worse or return.

Quick-Relief Drugs

Short-acting beta2-agonists – During exacerbations or flare ups, these drugs immediately loosen the tight muscles in your airways to allow enough air to flow to and from your lungs.

Always bring along quick relief meds wherever you go. Confer with your physician if you’ve been using these drugs for at least two days a week. The doctor may do some modifications to your asthma action plan. For your asthmatic child, be sure that people caring for him have your child’s quick-relief meds. They should be well instructed in the proper administration of these meds to your child.

Using a Peak Flow Meter

A peak flow meter is a gadget to gauge the lungs ability to move air in and out of the body. The person blows into this gadget and it indicates a peak flow number. The number will signify how well your lungs function during the test. Based on your peak flow score, the doctor will instruct you on how to take your medications. This device can warn you beforehand of an impeding asthma attack, even if your symptoms haven’t yet showed up. If your peak flow number indicates worsening breathing, you need to take your quick-relief medications as indicated in your asthma action plan. After a while, you can again measure your peak flow number to see how effective your meds have been.

Alternative Therapies

  • Natural dietary supplements and herbs – A lot of supplements, plants and herbs have been effective for asthma. Using supplements and herbs rich is vitamins C and E, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are particularly potent in treating asthma and asthma attacks
  • Yoga and other breathing techniques – Because stress is a major factor for asthma attacks, breathing exercises like yoga, Papworth method or Buteyko breathing technique have shown to help certain asthmatic people to relieve stress.
  • Diet – If you are allergic to certain types of food, you obviously need to avoid them which can also help you avoid getting asthma attacks if your asthma is caused by allergy.
  • Tarzana Acupuncture – This is an ancient Chinese medical technique that uses very thin needles inserted at specific parts in the body. Acupuncture is totally safe and despite the insertion of needles in the body is quite painless.  More and more asthmatic people have benefited from this treatment helping them to greatly lessen asthma attacks and vastly improving their breathing function.
  • Biofeedback

Written by Valerie

December 16th, 2013 at 6:50 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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