Almost everyone enjoys being outdoors to some degree and being active. All that joy can come to a complete stop when you have asthma. Imagine you are jogging, working out or even taking a nice sunny stroll. All of the sudden, breathing becomes very difficult, to a point where it feels like you are breathing through a straw. That is what an asthma attack feels like. Not to mention the panic that automatically sets in because you are having trouble breathing. It used to be, that you had to get shots in order to get your immune system to fight asthma but technology has helped those who suffer. The creation and design of an inhaler has been a huge advantage for asthma sufferers.
Asthma is a long-term lung disease due to inflammation of the lungs. Your lungs have airways or tubes that carry air in and out through breathing. Your lungs act like muscles in terms of contracting and expanding. As you breathe in, your lungs will expand. When you breathe out, your lungs shrink. Inflammation will arise when your lungs react to a foreign substance such as pollen. This causes the airways to react, and the muscles to tighten (contract). This causes the airways to narrow which makes it harder to breathe. As the reaction worsens, the airways get more narrow. You can tell the asthma symptoms by the wheezing (a whistling sound), chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing.
The first step in treatment is to identify the type of asthma that you might have. The earlier the detection in age, the easier and better the treatment will be. There can be a lot of factors in the type of asthma (#asthma) you have including, exercise, environment, stress, weather, air pollution such as smoke and allergens.
If the type of asthma can be detected early in childhood, then there is a possibility that you can build a resistance in your immune system to prevent asthma symptoms. Especially if it’s an allergic reaction to an allergen. An allergist or an asthma specialist can help in this case with immunotherapy. Once the allergen has been classified, the specialist will inject small amounts of the allergen into your body. Over time the amount injected increases. This will allow the body to build up a tolerance. Keep in mind, this will take years to build up the tolerance. If successful, you can reduce and can even eliminate your allergy symptoms.
For those who are not lucky enough to build a tolerance, there are options. There are basically two types of options: quick relief medications and long-term medications. Let us start with the quick relief medications which are designed to treat a flare up. The quick relief medications are usually the over the counter inhalers like the albuterol inhaler or a ventonil inhaler. These asthma inhalers act quickly to relax tight muscles around your airways. They inject the medication straight into your lungs for fast temporary treatment.
Long-term control medicines are taken every day to prevent symptoms and attacks. Inhaled corticosteroids (#inhaler)are the preferred medicine among doctors for long-term control of asthma. They have been scientifically proven to be the most effective option for long-term relief of the inflammation and swelling. Although this treatment is a steroid inhaler, don’t think of it as an anabolic steroid like growth hormones. This steroid acts more like a relaxant for inflammation. A common form of this steroid is called budesonide inhalation suspension. The most common side effect that you need to be aware of when using this type of inhaler is called thrush. That is when your inhaler medication lands in the back of your throat and not in your lungs. It is basically a fungal infection that occurs in your mouth or throat area which can be easily treated.
There are other types of medications for long-term asthma relief. You have the proair inhaler which is a bronchodilator mostly for people who exercise. It works by widening the airways in the lungs to help you breathe more easily. Other bronchodilators include Methylxanthines which relax bronchial smooth muscle and helps airways dilate. You have immunomodulators which work by suppressing the immune system from an allergic reaction. Then there are mast cell stabilizers like cromolyn sodium and nedocromil which act to prevent wheezing, shortness of breath, and other breathing problems caused by asthma. Not to mention your typical oral medications. Finally you have a new generation of treatment called Antileukotrienes which simply prevents your immune system from initiating a response to inflammation. So for long-term treatment, there are options. You have to figure out which is right for you.
Which treatment are you using for asthma treatment?