With the increase of pollutants in the air, asthma is quickly becoming one of the most common diseases experienced by humans. However, there is a wide range of treatments available to those who are affected by asthma, which can help them to overcome the disease and live a normal life.
Asthma is a respiratory illness that frequently causes symptoms such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and wheezing. The experience for those who have asthma can be drastically different, from the severity of symptoms to the length of and between episodes. There is no set cause of asthma; while there is some evidence to support a possible genetic link, there has been nothing definitive. Instead of looking at what causes the disease, it is more important to look at what triggers it.
Episodes of asthma can be triggered by many things, depending on the individual: from exercise, to secondhand smoke, to allergies, to weather sensitivity, and heightened emotions. Since the triggers for asthma can vary so greatly, it is important to figure out what exactly triggers your asthma attacks. Try to think back to previous episodes and identify common points about them to learn about trends that may trigger your attacks. If you can learn your triggers, you can start developing strategies to prevent them.
Medications are available for those who suffer from asthma. There are two general categories of medications: long-term, which seek to manage symptoms of asthma on a day-to-day basis, and quick-relief, which are intended to provide fast relief during an asthma attack. Examples of long-term medications include inhaled corticosteroids, such as Flovent, which open up the airway and provide long-term relief; leukotriene modifiers, such as Singulair, which block chemicals that can cause asthma symptoms; long-acting beta agonists, which open up airways and reduce swelling, such as Serevent Discus; Theophylline, which reduces the lung's reaction to irritants and relaxes the airway; and combination inhalers, such as Advair and Symbicort. Quick-relief medications include Albuterol, Levalbuterol, and Pirbuterol. Other medications that can provide relief for asthma sufferers are oral corticosteroids such as Prednisone, and Ipratropium, which is generally used for bronchial asthma. It is best to talk to your doctor in order to determine the medication regimen that best suits your needs.
Though medications can provide some relief from symptoms, one can further help themselves by maintaining an asthma-friendly living space. Since asthma attacks can be triggered by allergies and allergens such as dust and mites, maintaining a clean home can help to reduce the onset of asthma symptoms. Again, it is important to know your specific triggers so that you can eliminate them from your household.
It is important to know your limitations in managing episodes yourself and when you should seek medical assistance. Typically, if your asthma symptoms are not gone within three attempts of a rescue inhaler (spaced approximately fifteen to twenty minutes apart), you may need to seek medical help. In addition, you may want to seek medical help if you notice that your asthma episodes are becoming more severe or frequent.
The ability to breathe is one of the most basic fundamentals of life, and one that we cannot survive without. As asthma hinders this, it can be extremely frightening for those who experience. However, those with the illness can take refuge in the fact that it is highly treatable, and if prevention and treatment options are followed, can be almost eliminated from your life.