Asthma is a problem with the respiratory system that is impossible to cure but easier to manage and control. Treatment options depend on how much the asthmatic is suffering, and if there are any small changes that can be made to living conditions. For example if the asthmatic has a dust mite allergy then recommendations may be made to replace carpets and bedding.
If measures like these cannot be taken then the strength of prescribed drugs will be higher to compensate.
Treatment options for those with mild asthma are more flexible than for those with a severe form of the illness. Research shows inhaled corticosteroids may have more benefit than pill based steroids. This is a relief for many because there are negative side effects associated with steroids that are reduced when they are inhaled.
When inhaled, corticosteroids have an anti-inflammatory effect which eases the symptoms of asthma. When taken in pill form, and if taken too frequently in an inhaler, asthmatics are at risk of problems such as kidney and liver disease and a lowered immune system.
The way in which inhaled corticosteroids are used is for the asthmatic to judge the least amount of the medication needed to relieve their asthma symptoms so that they can avoid the systemic side effects associated with steroids.The American Lung Association discovered that people who were treated with corticosteroid inhalers had a 20% failure rate (required immediate medical intervention) vs traditional asthma medication Singulair which had a 30% failure rate.
One other common asthma treatment is anti-leukotrienes. Leukotrienes cause inflammation inside the body, leading to bronchoconstriction in asthma sufferers. Therefore the negating effect of anti-leukotrienes is helpful for use between courses of corticosteroids.
Judging the Severity of asthma
Asthmatics may get used to their limited capacity for physical activity and other symptoms, and thus cannot accurately judge how severe their asthma is. Doctors use a variety of measures to judge severity, and thus help them to decide on a treatment plan. These measures include peak flow values and patient history as well as answers to questions such as:
- How frequently do you need to use a rescue inhaler?
- How frequently do you awaken at night coughing?
- Are your physical activities limited because of breathing issues?
- How much have you been out of work/school with chest problems?
- How many times have you been admitted into hospital in the past 12 months?
- How many times you have taken oral steroids?
- What are your peak flow values ?
If the person suffering from asthma needs to use a rescue inhaler for asthma attacks more than 3 times a week then they need to have their current asthma management plan looked at to see if they are getting the best treatment.
Using Asthma Treatments Correctly
Asthmatics don’t always follow the guidelines for taking their medications. This could be because they are not fully aware of how the treatments work, or may not understand the consequences of leaving even mild asthma untreated.
Current asthma treatments include medicine, an asthma management program, preventative measures and information about how to react to a persons asthma becoming unmanageable at any given time and on how to make use of asthma treatments correctly.
Natural Asthma Treatments
This article has mainly focussed on the prescribed asthma treatments available, but there are natural remedies out there, some of which promise to cure or significantly reduce the symptoms of asthma.
Please be aware that it is not possible to entirely cure asthma but the symptoms can be well managed. Always go by the guidance of a doctor or health professional when it comes to treatment plans.