Asthma is that health condition when it is not easy for a person to catch his or her breath. It is actually a lung disease that is caused by swelling or inflammation, leading to shortness of breath, coughing, chest tightness and wheezing. A number of people suffering from this problem had a family history of some king of allergy like pet allergies and hay fever. Asthma is a common complain but it does not have a proper cure. Patients can use medication to lead an active life. One must follow the given tips and treatments.
Defining an Asthma Attack
An asthma attack happens when the muscles around the lining of the air passage and the airways tighten-up. Due to swelling, the amount of air that has to pass via the airways reduces, causing shrill wheezing sound.
In case the flow of air becomes blocked badly, an asthma can be life-threatening. For treating sudden asthma attacks one must keep asthma inhalers such as albuterol, handy for quick relief.
Causes of Asthma
The main cause behind the asthma attached is not completely known. In most of the cases, the environment and family history play an important part. If a person is sensitive, triggers or allergens (allergy-causing substances) can cause problem in breathing, leading to symptoms of asthma. Along with air pollutants that other triggers include tobacco smoke, stress, exercise, pollens, cockroach allergens, pet danger, food sulfites, cold air, respiratory infection, molds and dust mites.
Symptoms of Asthma
The symptoms of asthma stay with some people, while with others they come and go with triggers of asthma or with the season. The problem of asthma worsens during spring and fall season, likely in patients who have allergy from pollen and mold.
Diagnosis of Asthma
If you are experiencing symptoms of asthma, visit the doctor right away. Diagnosis of asthma is done according to the medical and the family history of allergies and asthma, test results and physical examination. Your doctor is going to use stethoscope for listening you your lungs. He looks for signs such as sunny nose, swelling in nasal passages and wheezing. He may conduct an asthma test including spirometry, which is a lung function test. In this test, how much air is blown in an out and how fast it is done is measured. He may also advice an allergy testing.
Treatment and Control of Asthma
The treatment of asthma works at regulating the inflammation in airway. It also works towards evading the known triggers of allergy such as pollen and pet danger. During the treatment, the doctor tries to bring back normal breathing, prevents the attack of asthma and restores the day-to-day activities.
Treatment of asthma on a daily basis can help the person in preventing the symptoms. Asthma inhalers are highly preferred as in this case the medicine gets directly delivered right into the lungs, in smaller doses. The side effects are also less in this case. In some cases, medicines of asthma is also given in the form of injection or pill.
Common Medications for Asthma
Treatment and controlling of asthma mainly involves 2 types of medications- quick-relief beta2-agonists such as albuterol are put into use as ‘rescue’ inhalers whenever symptoms are noticed and inhaled corticosteroids are put into use for controlling swelling in the lungs for a long span of time. Each kind of inhaler has its own and thus must not be used in the place of the other.
Other Treatments of Asthma
The other treatment involves leukotriene modifiers like zileuton, zafirlukast and montelukast that are used blocking chemical that leads to inflammation, and also the airway the narrows the asthma. For other allergy treatments and asthma that is caused by exercising. These medicines are taken orally as a pill. Omalizumab (injectable), cromolyn, and theophylline are other long-term medicines for controlling asthma.
[Also Read: How to Beat Nasal Allergies]
Use Rescue Inhaler
A patient can work in accordance with his doctor and pharmacist for developing an action plan for asthma, mainly for the time when you may experience an asthma attack. Make sure that are using you quick-relief inhaler in a correct manner and it is with you at all times.
Straight away contact your prescriber, if you are using your inhaler more than two times in one week. This might be an indication that your asthma is not in complete control and you may need a change in medication. Also, if you are not so as to how to use an inhaler, you must ask your pharmacist for the same.
It is very important that your night sleep is with any asthma symptom. Teach the patient’s caretaker or your child’s teachers about the use of inhalers and their asthma action plan.
Children and Use of Inhaler
For treating asthma in children, especially those who are below 5 years of age, a nebulizer or a space device has to be used. By using nebulizers, medication can be converted into fine mist breathing treatment for easy inhalation. Similarly, spacer devices contain a chamber which gets the aerosol before it gets inhaled.
Nebulizers are in electric form for home and in battery form for easy carrying, while spacers are transportable. These two can be used by anyone, who faces trouble in using an inhaler. You can ask your doctor to order them for you. Ask them about the proper use.
Common Side Effects of with Asthma Medicines
If used as per the prescription, asthma medications that are for inhaling are generally easy with very few side effects. However, in some cases there can be a problem. For instance, corticosteroids, when inhaled, can lead to an oral thrush or a fungal infection in the mouth. You just rinse your mouth with water, after using the inhaler. If you see any white patches in the mouth, it could be thrush, and so contact the doctor. Apart from this, quick-acting medicines such as albuterol can lead to issues like nervousness, a fast heartbeat, shakiness and difficulty in sleeping.
Difference between Exercise-Induced Asthma and Regular Asthma
EIA or exercise-induces asthma is that asthma, which causes swelling in the airways at the time of exercising. EIA can happen in people who have asthma problem and also who do not have. This kind of asthma attack can happen after or during physical activity, mainly in cold weather, with triggers of asthma and at time of an illness. Look for symptoms like a headache, tightness in chest, fatigue, soughing and wheezing. For treating the problem of EIA, it is important to avoid the triggers, and consume medicines before starting exercising or on a daily bases. Montelukast and albuterol can be used for EIA also.
Peak Flow Meter and its use in asthma
A peak flow meter is a small handy devise that is used at home for measuring how well are the lungs working. It tells us how much and how quickly is the person exhaling after breathing in deeply and then blowing out in a hard manner. This can help you and your doctor in determining whether your asthma action plan is working or not. By using this device you can easily see when your asthma problem is starting to get worse. Before an asthma attack, the numbers might decrease a few days or hours before. Ask your doctor about the use of peak flow meter and its readings.
Cost of Medicines of Asthma
In most of the cases, treatments of asthma are easily and generically available, saving money. On the contrary, there are some treatments, which are costly. Patients can have a word with the doctor at the time of getting their prescription for being assured so that to know whether they can afford the prescribed medicine or is there a cheaper option. Medication for asthma are generally consume on a daily basis and thus it is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.