Types of Asthma Treatment
Prevention and long-term control is the key to preventing asthma attacks. The first step in treating the asthma is learning to recognize your triggers and taking steps to avoid them. It's also important to "track" your breathing, or take note of your breathing patterns when your physician has prescribed new medication for you. Remember, there's more than one way to provide asthma treatment. For example, if a patient is diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, that particular patient may have a physician's order not to over exert oneself. Furthermore, asthma medication is divided into two categories:
- Quick relief or "rescue" asthma treatment medication
- Controller asthma medication
Quick Relief Asthma Treatment
Quick-relief asthma medication treats acute asthma symptoms such as, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest. Quick-relief or "rescue" asthma treatment medications are used by patients as needed for short-term symptom relief during an asthma attack or before exercise if your doctor recommends it. Types of asthma treatment medications include:
- Short-acting beta agonists (SABA) - These inhaled, "rescue" bronchodilators can rapidly ease symptoms during an asthma attack. They act within minutes and the effects last several hours.
- Systemic corticosteroids - This type of asthma treatment medication relieve airway inflammation induced by triggers such as allergies, and/or infections. the use of systemic steroid carries many benefits, and risks, therefore the decision to start this kind of treatment should always be after consulting with your doctor.
Controller (Long-Term) Asthma Treatment Medication
In most cases, long-term asthma treatment medications need to be taken every day. The most common types of long-term asthma treatments are:
- Inhaled corticosteroids - These medications are the most commonly prescribed type of long-term asthma treatment medication, and may take several days or weeks before they reach their maximum benefit.
- Leukotriene modifiers - This type of asthma treatment medication can help prevent asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours. These medications help block a second major mediator pathway leading to allergies, and work as a good add on to previous treatments.
- Long-acting beta agonists (LABA). LABAs open the airways and reduce inflammation in the airways. In Asthma patients LABAs should be taken only in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid.
- Combination inhalers - These medications contain a LABA along with a corticosteroid. Like other LABA medications, these medications are indicated for moderate to severe persistent asthma, the decision to use it is based on your doctor's evaluation.
- Theophylline - This is a daily pill that helps keep the airways open (bronchodilator). Theophylline relaxes the muscles around the airways to make breathing easier.
Asthma Treatment for Exercise Induced Asthma
For treatment, exercise induced asthma (EIA) patients are given two puffs from an Albuterol inhaler 15-20 minutes before exercising to prevent difficulty breathing. Certain patients require more than one type of asthma treatment medication to control the EIA from occurring.
The good news is that 16% of the American Olympic team athletes have asthma or EIA, and yet 57% of them have won medals compared to 43% who do not have asthma or EIA. Way to go asthma patients! Good luck to every asthmatic and athlete. Whether you need long-term asthma treatment, short-term asthma treatment, or a combination of both, we're always happy and willing to assist you in controlling your asthma symptoms.