Asthma is a chronic lung disease that narrows and inflames the airways. Asthma normally causes recurring periods of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. This coughing mostly occurs at night or very early in the morning. Even though it often starts during childhood, the disease affects people of all ages.
Causes of Asthma
The exact cause of this chronic disease isn’t known. Nevertheless, researchers think some environmental and genetic factors usually interact to cause asthma. The factors include:
- An inherited tendency for developing allergies, known as atopy (AT-o-pe)
- Parents who have cases of asthma
- Certain respiratory infections in early years
- Contact with certain airborne allergens or the exposure to certain viral infections during infancy
Asthma is a chronic disease without a cure. The main goal of asthma treatments is to control this disease. Good asthma medications will:
- Prevent chronic as well as troublesome symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing
- Reduce your need for the quick-relief asthma medications (see below)
- Help you in maintaining good lung function
- Let you maintain your normal level of activities and sleep at night
- Prevent the asthma attacks that might result in a hospital stay or an emergency room visit
To control asthma, you should partner with your physician so as to manage your asthma or even your child’s asthma. Kids aged 10 years or older should take active roles in their asthma medication. An asthma treatment plan gives guidance on how to take your medications properly, avoid asthma triggers, track your level of asthma control, respond to worsening symptoms, and seek emergency care when a need arises.
Asthma is treated using 2 types of medicines: quick-relief medications and long-term control. Long-term control asthma meds usually help to reduce airway inflammation and also prevent asthma symptoms. On the other hand, quick-relief asthma meds usually relieve asthma symptoms that might flare up. Your initial asthma treatment shall depend on how severe the condition is. Below is a comprehensive guide to treating asthma.
Follow an Asthma Action Plan
You can choose to work with your doctor so as to create your own asthma action plan. This plan will describe all your daily treatments, like which type of medicines to take and the time when you should take them. The plan will also explain when you should call your doctor or head to an emergency room.If any of your children has asthma, all the people who care for her should know more about his/her asthma action plans. This includes workers at the daycare centers and babysitters, schools, as well as camps. Caretakers can also help your child to follow his/her action plan.
Avoid Things That Might Worsen Your Asthma
Many common things (known as asthma triggers) can worsen or set off asthma symptoms. When you know what all these things are, then you can take the necessary steps to control most of them. For instance, air pollution or exposure to pollens might make asthma worse. If so, you should try to limit your time outside when the levels of those substances in the air are high. In case animal fur normally triggers your symptoms, then keep all pets with fur out of your bedroom or home.
Your doctor shall consider a lot of things when deciding the asthma medications that are best suited for you. He/she will check so as to see how well certain asthma meds work for you. After this, he/she will adjust the meds as needed. Asthma meds can be taken in pill form. However, most of them are taken using a special device known as an inhaler. The inhaler allows the asthma medicine to move directly into your lungs.
Long-Term Asthma Control Medications
Most people with asthma should take long-term asthma control medications on a daily basis to help in preventing the symptoms. The most functional long-term asthma medicines can reduce airway inflammation. This helps to prevent asthma symptoms from starting. Inhaled corticosteroids are usually the preferred asthma medication for long-term control. They are the most effective asthma treatment option for long-term relief from swelling and inflammation that make the airways become sensitive to some inhaled substances. Reducing swelling and inflammation helps to prevent the chain reaction which causes asthma symptoms.
Quick-Relief Asthma Medications
All people with asthma need quick-relief asthma meds to help in relieving asthma symptoms that might flare up. Inhaled short-acting beta2-agonists medicines are the first-choice medicines for quick relief. They usually act quickly so as to relax the tight muscles around the airways when you are having flare-ups. This will allow the airways to open up so that air can flow in.
You should always take quick-relief medicines when you notice any asthma symptoms. In case you use quick-relief medicine more than two days per week, you should then talk with your physician about asthma control as you might need to make several changes to your asthma treatment plan.
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