How is asthma treated?
is asthma treated?
A high percentage of asthma patients suffer from allergies. Up to
80% of childhood asthma patients and 70% of adult asthmatics have some
allergies. Controlling allergies is the first step to controlling asthma. In addition, there are two types of medicine
for the treatment of asthma.
provide quick relief of sudden symptoms. Rescue medications start to alleviate
the symptoms of asthma within a few minutes by relaxing the muscle spasms within
the airways. The most commonly prescribed medication for rescue of asthma
symptoms is albuterol, or a related medication called levalbuterol. The rescue medications
can be administered via an inhaler or aerosolized with a nebulizer. Typically
these medications can be given every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Trade names for
rescue medications include ProAir HFA, Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA and Xopenex
For children, their rescue inhaler is often
used with a device called a spacer. This device helps children inhale the
medication into the lungs to alleviate symptoms of asthma. Your doctor may also
prescribe a nebulizer for aerosolized delivery of the medication.
Side effects can include tremor, rapid
heart rate and nervousness, all of which dissipate within a few minutes of
taking the medication.
long-term control of asthma and prevent future symptoms. Your doctor will determine if the frequency
and severity of your or your child’s symptoms require the use of a maintenance
medication. All of the controller
medications work by reducing the inflammation in the airways, which is the
primary problem with asthma. By reducing
swelling, the lungs are stronger and a patient is much less likely to have
The most commonly prescribed medication
in maintenance control of asthma is an inhaled steroid. These can be given as
an inhaler or via the nebulizer in small children. These medications treat the
inflammation within the lungs, the primary problem in asthma. Trade names for
inhaled steroid medications that your doctor may prescribe include: Flovent,
Qvar, Asmanex, Pulmicort and Alvesco. The inhalers for these medications differ
between brands and your doctor will teach you how to properly administer to
ensure that the medications reach the lungs.
Corticosteroid medications have developed a scary reputation, but
especially when inhaled, are extremely safe and effective for controlling
asthma inflammation. The steroids that
athletes take are a different type of steroid and are not related to the
medications we use to treat asthma.
It is very
important that you or your child take all the medicines that the doctor
prescribes. A common mistake is to stop taking controller asthma medications
when the symptoms improve. Symptom
improvement is due to the medication, it does not mean the asthma is gone! Leaving asthma untreated has much bigger risks
than any risks associated with the medications.
Asthma may improve or worsen with changes in season and exposure to
asthma triggers, therefore it is important to have regular check ups to
evaluate and monitor your asthma as medication changes are necessary from time