What is the best asthma treatment?
Even though asthma is an incurable disease, it can be controlled. Each case of asthma is different from the other as every individual has different triggers. Hence, it is important that your doctor designs an asthma plan that is exclusive to you.
Your asthma treatment must include routinely tracking of asthma symptoms to know the condition of your lungs. Preventing asthma attacks and thus avoiding long-term problems will get easier if you take an active part in managing your asthma.
Here is what you need to do to ensure that your asthma treatment is going in the right direction:
1. Maintain an asthma diary in which you can keep track of your symptoms. Make a note of your symptoms daily. It will help your doctor make adjustments in the asthma plan he/she designed for you. You should record the following things:
· Wheezing (Record when you experience shortness of breath or hear the whistling sound on exhaling)
· Pain or chest tightness
· Disturbed sleep due to coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.
· Color change of mucus when you have a cough
· Use of quick-relief rescue inhaler. Record how many times you use an inhaler along with the number of puffs you take
· Disturbed daily routine due to asthma symptoms
· Asthma symptoms while working out
· Symptoms of hay fever such as sneezing or running nose.
· Anything that triggers you asthma
2. The result of periodical breathing tests conducted by your doctor must be documented. In case your lungs are not working properly, it means your asthma is not under control. Lung function tests are of two types:
Peak flow — It is conducted by a simple hand-held device called a peak flow meter, which measures how air passes from your lungs in one full blast. The meter measures the ability of your lungs to push out air.
Spirometry — It is conducted with the help of a machine called spirometer. It rates how well and quickly can your lungs inhale and exhale air after you have taken a deep breath.
The goal of tracking your symptoms and the working condition of your lungs is to design a new action plan, which will have the medications adjusted to requirement of your body.
Asthma can be treated using these two types of medications:
1. Long-term control medications — These include corticosteroids, inhaled long-acting beta agonists, combination inhaled medicines, etc. This type works on the inflamed airways that lead to asthma symptoms. They help in getting rid of asthma attacks.
2. Quick-relief inhalers These consist of fast-acting medications like albuterol (Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA). These rescue inhalers are ideal for emergency use as they can open your airways quickly and make breathing easier. However, if you require the inhaler frequently, it means your asthma isn’t under control. Hence, you need to consult your doctor for a proper long-term treatment.
Besides medication, you will also need to identify the allergens that trigger your asthma symptoms. Asthma triggers can be present anywhere, indoors or outdoors. Once you have figured out the triggers, you can avoid coming contact with them to prevent asthma attacks and minimize the disturbances caused in your life by its symptoms.