One should understand that asthma is a condition which is not so much treated rather than is controlled. This is because asthma is a chronic, long-term disease which cannot be cured. Fortunately, there are methods and medications that can help to control asthma.
Using The Peak Flow Meter
A peak flow meter is a simple in usage, hand-held tool that is indicated for measuring of air movement out of the lungs which can help to maintain control of asthma.
This device works in the following way: after blowing into it, the meter shows the peak flow number. Your health provider will indicate the frequency of using this device as well as how to interpret the result received. Some patients are recommended to record scores on a daily basis –typically in the morning while others are indicated to use the peak flow meter from time to time.
Each asthma sufferer has their own best peak flow number and each test with the peak flow meter is typically judged against these results. In case peak flow tests start to decline – even if other symptoms are not present yet- it may indicate an asthma attack coming. Besides, the peak flow meter can be used to test the effectiveness of prescribed medication treatment if used after taking your asthma medicine.
For a managing your asthma condition, you need to keep it under the control. Asthma is considered to be controlled if:
-Such chronic and worrisome symptoms as coughing and difficult breathing are prevented and happen no more than 2 days per week.
-You don’t need quick-relief medicines more than 2 days a week.
-Your lung function is normal.
-Your activity level stays normal.
-The symptoms don’t occur at nighttime and don’t make you awake from sleep more than 1 – 2 nights a month.
- Emergency medical treatment is not required.
-No more than one asthma attack per year occurs with you providing you use inhalation of corticosteroids.
- Your peak flow remains above 80% of your personal best result of the measurement.
These results can be obtained by working in cooperation with your medical provider and avoiding factors that can induce asthma attacks. Besides, it is vital to manage other health conditions that might interfere with controlling your asthma condition.
Effective control of your condition also involves avoiding things that trigger asthma symptoms. For example, you are required to avoid the exposure to allergens. This may include reducing the time you spend outdoors during the time of the year when the levels or air pollution are the highest. Besides, you might be recommended to limit the contact with animals. If your asthma symptoms can arouse due to allergies, using the required allergy shots can help to eliminate them.
Visiting A Doctor’s Office As A Preventive Measure
Effective asthma control involves also visiting a medical professional every 2 – 6 weeks for regular medical examination. Later you might be recommended to visit your doctor once per month or twice per year.
It is strongly recommended to keep an eye on your asthma symptoms and attacks as well as the peak flow measurement and provide the result to your medical provider. This will help for the doctor to understand how well your asthma is controlled.
Asthma medications are divided generally into two main groups – quick-relief medications and long-term control medications. Long-term control asthma medications work to reduce inflammation of breathing passages as well as preventing asthma symptoms. Quick-relies medications are indicated for providing the immediate relief of asthma symptoms.
Some asthma drugs are taken in pill form, but most of them come in a powder form or as mists administering by using an inhaler. This device allows medicines to get efficiently through the breathing passages to the lungs. Besides, asthma medication an also be taken using a nebulizer, which allows to use a larger, continuous dosage.
Long-term control asthma drugs should be taken daily and are indicated for prevention of asthma symptom such as the inflammation of the breathing passages. Inhaled corticosteroids are the most commonly prescribed long-term control medications which help to manage asthma symptoms effectively. Usually, they are administered daily to reduce the inflammation that causes the asthma attack.
Inhaled corticosteroids are not habit-forming medications even if they are used on a daily basis. Though, these medications might cause side effects including the mouth infection known as thrush. This infection occurs when the corticosteroids stick in your throat or mouth. That is why spacers or holding chambers are used in order to avoid this. Rinsing the mouth after inhalation can also help to avoid thrush.
These medications can also increase the risk of cataracts and osteoporosis if used for a long period of time.
Among the other long-term control asthma medications are B2-agonists, leukotriene modifiers, cromolyn, nedocromil, and theophylline.
Quick-relief medications are used to relieve asthma symptoms as soon as they occur. These drugs should be used when asthma symptoms are noticed. Quick-relief medications should not be used more than 2 days per week. As quick-relief medicines don’t reduce the inflammation, they are not be used as a long-term treatment of asthma.
Using Asthma Medications In Children
Generally long-term control medications are used in children after 6 years of age only. Children are usually treated with inhaled corticosteroids, montelukast, or cromolyn. Inhaled corticosteroids have the side-effect of slowed growth, but the effect is small and is likely to be caused during the first few months of treatment.
Using Asthma Medications In Elderly Patients
Elderly asthma sufferers may require a dose adjustment in order to prevent drug interactions. It is very important to note that such medicines as beta blockers, pain relievers, aspirin, and anti-inflammatory drugs might prevent asthma medications from working effectively and correctly. Furthermore, they can even worsen the asthma symptoms.
As inhaled corticosteroids might provoke osteoporosis, using these medications in older adults might result in weak bones. So, in order to avoid such condition, it is recommended to take calcium and vitamin D along with asthma treatment to keep bones healthy.
Proper asthma control is of a great importance in pregnant women as a sufficient supply of oxygen is necessary for the fetus. Asthmatic mothers have a higher chance of giving the premature birth. Besides, babies might have a lower birth weight.
It is not rare when people manage their asthma using unconventional treatment methods. Nevertheless, there is no full information regarding the effectiveness of such methods.
However, according to certain researches, acupuncture, air ionizers, and dust mite control measures have very little or no effect on asthma symptoms. There is a controversial opinion regarding the effectiveness of osteopathic, chiropractic, physiotherapeutic, and respiratory therapeutic methods. Homeopathy can mildly reduce the intensity of asthma symptoms.