Asthma is a disease that continues to affect the lives of millions of people, although advancements made by the medical community as a whole have vastly improved patients' abilities to not only treat but manage their condition so that a normal, happy life is quite possible for almost all of them.
One of the aspects of research that's been quite prominent within this issue is that of asthma treatment. The reason is that at this time, there is no known cure for asthma, which means that those who have it must be able to understand how to mitigate its influence on their lives. Luckily, there are almost limitless opportunities to do so, and below are three general 'areas' of asthma treatment that have been quite successful.
Short–Term Asthma Treatment
The short–term treatment needs for asthma patients basically includes having proper medication readily available to those who may suffer from periodic attacks. The Mayo Clinic has published a list of recommended types of medications, and these appear below:
- Short–acting beta–2 agonists, such as albuterol. These inhaled medications, called bronchodilators, ease breathing by temporarily relaxing airway muscles. They act within minutes, and effects last four to six hours.
- Ipratropium (Atrovent). Your doctor might prescribe this inhaled anticholinergic for the immediate relief of your symptoms. Like other bronchodilators, ipratropium relaxes the airways, making it easier to breathe. Ipratropium is mostly used for emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Oral and intravenous corticosteroids to treat acute asthma attacks or very severe asthma. Examples include prednisone and methylprednisolone. These medications relieve airway inflammation. They may cause serious side effects when used long term, so they're only used to treat severe asthma symptoms.
The basic goal of any short–term treatment is to stave off the immediate attack and to avoid unnecessary danger that could result in one if a patient is not prepared.
Aside from the short-term treatment options, most asthma patients need to follow a daily protocol of medications that are basically in place to minimize the possibility of additional asthma attacks occurring. These medications generally fall into five different categories:
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Long-acting beta–2 agonists (LABAs)
- Leukotriene modifiers
- Cromolyn and nedocromil (Tilade)
Preventative Asthma Treatment
While different patients must avoid different potential triggers for attacks, the same basic strategy applies to everyone – minimize the exposure of those materials that could be one of the reasons attacks occur. For instance, some patients should avoid dust and pet dander, and most should avoid strenuous exercise in outdoor environments that are cold and dry. You and your doctor should be able to put together a sound list of things to avoid simply by paying attention to your surroundings when attacks occur.
Overall, asthma treatment will continue to be an ongoing target of new research and productive learning. Regardless of the specifics of your condition, there are avenues available to you to help you avoid unnecessary attacks and risk.