Asthma Treatment Options

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Asthma is a general chronic inflammatory disease of the airways identified by irregular and recurring symptoms. If a person has asthma so his airways become narrow and swell. They secrete extra amount of mucus which makes breathing difficult.

The most frequent asthma signs and symptoms are wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. For few victims, asthma symptoms are a minor, but for others, they are a major problem that disturbs the daily activities. Asthma cannot be treated, but its signs and symptoms can be controlled. There are several causes of asthma including the following;

  • Airborne allergens like pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
  • Respiratory infections like the common cold
  • Physical activity
  • Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants like smoke
  • Certain medications like beta blockers, aspirin and other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Sulfite’s, preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
  • Menstrual cycle in some women
  • Allergic reactions to some foods like peanuts or shellfish

Asthma symptoms range from mild to intense and vary from a person to person. Victim may have minor symptoms and asthma attacks may be less often. The common symptoms of the asthma are;

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • An audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Bouts of coughing or wheezing that are worsened by a respiratory virus like a cold or the flu

Prevention and long-term control is the core to preventing asthma attacks. Treatment generally includes learning to identifies the triggers and taking steps to prevent them, and tracking the breathing to ensure the daily asthma medications are keeping symptoms under control.

Medications
The appropriate medications for the victim depands upon a number of things such as symptoms, age, asthma triggers to keep the asthma under control. Preventive, long-term control medications decrease the swelling in the airways that leads to symptoms. Quick-relief inhalers which are also known as bronchodilators promptly open swollen airways that restrict breathing. In few cases, medications to treat specific allergies are required.

Long-term control medications
In many cases, these medications required to be taken every day. Following are the types of long-term control medications.

Inhaled corticosteroids
These medications contain budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler), fluticasone (Flovent Diskus, Flovent HFA), mometasone (Asmanex), beclomethasone (Qvar), flunisolide (Aerobid) and others. They are the most usual prescribed type of long-term medication for asthma. Victim may require to use these medications for several days. Unsimilar to oral corticosteroids, these corticosteroid medications have a comparatively low risk of side-effects and are usually safe for long-term use.

Leukotriene modifiers
These are oral medications which contain zafirlukast (Accolate), montelukast (Singulair) and zileuton (Zyflo, Zyflo CR). They help avoid asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours. In infrequent cases, these drugs have been linked to psychological reactions like aggression, agitation, depression, hallucinations and suicidal thinking. Promptly consult to a doctor for any unusual reactions.

Long-acting beta agonist
They are inhaled medications which include formoterol (Foradil Aerolizer) and salmeterol (Serevent Diskus). Long-acting beta agonist open the airways and decrease swelling.

Combination inhalers
Like salmeterol (Advair Diskus), fluticasone and budesonide and formoterol (Symbicort). These drugs contain LABA along with a corticosteroid. Like other LABA drugs, these drugs may enhance the risk of having an intense asthma attack.

Theophylline
Theophylline is a daily pill that helps in keeping the airways open. Theophylline contain Elixophyllin, Theo-24 and others relaxes the muscles surround to the airways to make breathing easier.

Quick-relief medications

Quick-relief medications are also known as rescue medications. These are used as required for rapid, short-term symptom relief during an asthma attack.  These are the types of quick-relief medications:

Short-acting beta Agonist
These inhaled, prompt-relief bronchodilators can immidiate ease symptoms during an asthma attack. They include Ventolin HFA, others), albuterol (ProAir HFA), levalbuterol (Xopenex HFA) and pirbuterol (Maxair Autohaler). These medications work within minutes, and effects for last several hours.

Ipratropium (Atrovent)
Doctor might prescribe this inhaled medication for immediate relief of the symptoms. Like any other bronchodilators, ipratropium comforts the airways, making it easier to breathe. Ipratropium is commonly used for emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but it is also sometimes used to treat asthma attack.

Oral and intravenous corticosteroids
These drugs comfort airway swelling caused by intense asthma. Examples are methylprednisolone and prednisone. They can cause serious side-effects when used in long-term, so they are used only on a short-term basis.

Treatment for allergy-induced asthma

If the asthma is worsened by allergies, patient may benefit from allergy treatment as well. Allergy treatments consist of:

Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
They are in the form of injections. Immunotherapy injections are usually given once in a week for a few months. Over time, they slowly decrease the immune system reaction to particular allergens.

Omalizumab (Xolair)
This medication is particularly for those people who have allergies and intense asthma. It works by altering the immune system. Omalizumab is used by injection.

Allergy medications
These consist of oral and nasal spray antihistamines and decongestants as well as cromolyn, corticosteroid and ipratropium nasal sprays.

Bronchial thermoplasty
This treatment is used for the treatment of intense asthma that does not improve with inhaled corticosteroids or other asthma medications. Bronchial thermoplasty heats the airways in the lungs from inside with an electrode, decreasing the smooth muscle inside the airways. This decrease the capability of the airways to tighten, making breathing comfortable and may decrease asthma attacks.

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