Treatments for Asthma


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Treatment list for Asthma: The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Asthma includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Hospitalization
  • Anti-inflammatory agents
  • Long-term asthma medications
    • Inhaled steroids
    • Oral steroids
    • Cromolyn
    • Nedocromil
    • Inhaled long-acting beta-2 agonists
    • Sustained-release theophylline
    • Sustained-release beta-2 agonists
    • Zileuton
    • Zafirlukast
  • Quick relief asthma treatments
    • Metered dose inhaler
    • Inhaled Short-Acting Beta2 Agonists
    • Inhaled Anticholinergics
    • Oral Steroids
  • Peak flow meter - helps to monitor how well treatment is performing.
  • Exercise - but only under medical supervision.
  • Avoiding triggers or exacerbating factors
    • Avoid cigarette smoke
    • Avoid dust mites
    • Avoid animal dander
    • Avoid cockroaches
    • Avoid vaccuuming - get someone else to do it.
    • Avoid indoor mold
    • Avoid pollen
    • Avoid outdoor mold
    • Avoid fire smoke
    • Avoid animals
    • Avoid strong odors - such as perfumes or cleaning products.
    • Avoid flu - get a flu vaccination and/or avoid people with the flu.
    • Avoid sulfites - in certain foods such as beer, wine, seafood, etc.
    • Avoid cold air
    • Avoid cross-reaction asthma effects of other medications
  • Bronchodilators

Treatment of Asthma: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Asthma:

Treatments of Asthma discussion: Once asthma sufferers learn what conditions prompt their attacks, they can take steps to attempt to control their environment and avoid these triggers. Medical treatment with anti-inflammatory agents (especially inhaled steroids) and bronchodilators, however, is usually necessary to prevent and control attacks. With optimal management, people usually can control their asthma. People living in inner cities, however, cannot always get optimal care. Even currently available treatments do not control severe asthma in some patients, such as children in inner cities. 1

Environmental interventions, in combination with medical management, can significantly reduce the burden of asthma. 2

Managing asthma requires a long-term, multifaceted approach, including patient education, behavior changes, avoidance of asthma triggers, pharmacologic therapy, and frequent medical follow-up. 2

Each of these features of asthma can be prevented or treated by:

  • Staying away from your triggers or controlling them

  • Taking medicine that opens your airways

  • Getting treatment for the inflammation

Treating inflammation is very important in the control of moderate to severe asthma. This may mean the daily use of such medicines as cromolyn sodium or inhaled steroids. Both of these medicines are safe to take.3

A peak flow meter is a small device that measures how well air moves out of the airways. Monitoring peak flow helps a student determine changes in his or her asthma and identify appropriate actions to take.

Each student has his or her personal best peak flow reading. This number should be noted in the student's asthma plan or school health file. A peak flow reading less than 80 percent of the student's personal best indicates the need for action. A student should avoid running and playing until the peak flow reading returns or exceeds 80 percent of the personal best.

A peak flow reading is only one indicator of asthma problems. Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness are also indicators of worsening asthma. Follow the student's individual plan or the school plan if you observe any of the signs or symptoms listed in the asthma emergency section or in the student's own plan. 4

How to Use a Metered Dose Inhaler

  1. Take off the cap. Shake the inhaler.

  2. Stand up. Breathe out.

  3. Use the inhaler in any one of these ways:

    A. Open Mouth: Hold inhaler 1 to 2 inches in front of your mouth (about the width of two fingers).
    B. Spacer: Use a spacer/ holding chamber. These come in many shapes and can be useful to any patient.
    C. In the Mouth: Put the inhaler in your mouth. Do not use for steroids.
4

Asthma in older adults presents some special concerns. For example, the normal effects of aging can make asthma harder to diagnose and treat. So can other health problems that many older adults have (like emphysema or heart disease). Also, older adults are more likely than younger people to have side effects from asthma medicines. (For example, recent studies show that older adults who take high doses of inhaled steroid medicines over a long time may increase their chance of getting glaucoma.) When some asthma and nonasthma medicines are taken by the same person, the drugs can combine to produce harmful side effects. Doctors and patients must take special care to watch out for and address these concerns through a complete diagnosis and regular checkups.5

Medication and trigger avoidance are two strategies most commonly used to control asthma. Developing medication and avoidance plans with your doctor and sticking to them are important to controlling asthma and preventing attacks.

Mild asthma may be treated with fast-acting, inhaled bronchodialators, which help open up airways to allow air to move more freely. During an acute attack, bronchodialators are used to decrease the immediate symptoms. More severe asthma may be treated with a combination of bronchodialators and anti-inflammatory medications, which help reduce the swelling of airways.

Allergen avoidance is often an effective strategy for people who have asthma strongly triggered by allergies and may reduce the amount of medication necessary to control the asthma. Anti-allergy medication and allergy desensitization shots are also options. 6

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Asthma A Concern for Minority Populations, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID
2. excerpt from Facts About Asthma: CDC-OC
3. excerpt from NHLBI - Your Asthma Can Be Controlled: NHLBI
4. excerpt from NHLBI, Asthma & Physical Activity in the School: NHLBI
5. excerpt from NHLBI, Asthma Age Page: NHLBI
6. excerpt from ASTHMA: NWHIC

Last revision: April 9, 2003

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