Receiving a diagnosis of asthma may be frightening, but learning what the treatment options are can help alleviate the anxiety that comes with diagnosis.
Asthma strikes nearly eight percent of Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so if you have asthma, you are not alone. A chronic condition, asthma occurs when the airways become inflamed and narrow, which hinders airflow.
“The prevention of asthma as a condition is quite difficult. What you can prevent is the frequency and severity of attacks by the use of regular treatment,” Dr. John Costello, a pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London, said in a recent article.
Depending on the severity, certain asthma medications may help you manage your symptoms. Here, experts break down the most common long-term and quick-acting medications for asthma, how they work and potential side effects.
Non-medication treatments for asthma
Your physician will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan. It is important to follow this plan diligently and check in with your physician regularly.
Because asthma is triggered by many things in the environment, one of the most important treatments for asthma does not involve medication, but rather awareness of what those triggers are. It is important for you to keep a journal in which you record when you have an attack and what triggered it. By noticing what your individual triggers are, you are more prepared to avoid them in the future. According to the Allergy & Asthma Network, some common triggers are:
- Hot or cold air
- Pet dander, dust, pollen, perfumes, smoke
- Laughing or crying
- Colds or viruses
Asthma treatment may also include lifestyle changes. If you smoke, it will be essential for you to quit, according to the American Lung Association. Medications to help with quitting may be part of your treatment plan. In addition, obese patients are more likely to experience asthma symptoms than the general public, the CDC says. Losing weight can be an essential part of controlling asthma.
Keep a journal
In addition to recording triggers and attacks, keep a record of each time you use your quick-relief (rescue) inhaler. One sign of well-controlled asthma is using the rescue inhaler two times a week or less, according to Mount Sinai. If you find your attacks increasing and you are using your quick-relief inhaler more often, you should make an appointment with your doctor to review your treatment plan.
A peak-flow meter, an instrument that gauges how well you breathe, can also be a valuable tool in