There are two types of medications for asthma treatment:
Quick relief medications:
Bronchodilator, which is a quick relief medication, works by relaxing the muscles that have tightened around the airways. These are also called as rescue or relief medicines because they open the airways quickly for breathing easily and can stop asthma attack quickly.
These medicines which are used for asthma treatment act quickly but their effect remains for short period. Therefore these quick relief medicines are taken in the beginning when you feel the symptoms like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
Some of the quick relief medications for asthma treatment are
• Short-acting bronchodilators (ex. Ventolin, proventil).
• Oral or intravenous corticosteroids which help to stabilize severe asthma attack.
You should have inhalers always when you have asthma attack.
Long term medications:
Corticosteroid is the effective long term medication for asthma treatment which is inhaled to reduce the swelling of the airways for the reduction of asthma attack. These inhaled corticosteroids are safe and preferred asthma treatment when taken as directed by the doctor for controlling mild, moderate and persistent asthma.
Theophylline is a long term medication used for asthma treatment or used together with inhaled corticosteroids to treat mild asthma attack. Cromolyn and nedocromil are long term medications used for asthma treatment.
Leukotriene modifiers are used for asthma treatment or used together with inhaled corticosteroids to treat mild asthma attack.
If you stop taking long term medications, your asthma attack may worsen again. You have to use short-acting bronchodilators when your symptoms worsen and long term medications to treat the inflammation.
Your doctor may change the medications according to the severity of the asthma attack. Work out with your doctor for best asthma treatment and control asthma for leading a normal and active life.
Some of the long term medications for asthma treatment are:
• Theophylline or aminophylline
• Inhaled steroids such as aerobic, vanceril, corticosteroid and azmacort prevent inflammation
• Long-acting bronchodilators such as serevent and famoterol help open airways
• Leukotriene inhibitors such as accolade and singulair
• Cromolyn sodium or nedochromil sodium
Here are five easy steps you can take to encourage fewer and less severe asthma attacks, and depend less on drug-based symptom-suppression-only therapies.
Get a grip on your gut health.Use a digestive enzyme regularly for at least three months. Broad-spectrum plant digestive enzymes help you digest your meals fully, reduce your exposure to potential allergens, and ensure digestive function and better nutritional health. In addition, specially prepared probiotics help heal and seal your gut, supporting and balancing the beneficial bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut can play a major role in reducing acute episodes caused by inflammatory illness. Take two to three capsules of a digestive enzyme at the beginning of meals, and one to two with snacks.
Choose wisely.Go easy on refined foods of all kinds, especially salt, sweets, breads, meats, snacks, and difficult-to-digest foods. Avoid additives, artificial chemicals, colors, flavors, and preservatives. This diet modification alone can bring you long-term balance and substantial relief.
Strive for a low-to-no allergy environment.This can significantly help settle your asthma and strengthen your immunity. Use an air filter in your home and office to rapidly clear environmental airborne allergens. Wash your clothes, bed linens, etc., regularly, as many household triggers are the cause of asthma symptoms—even more than once suspected.
Take a good quality multi-nutrient supplementto help arm your immune system and quell your asthma. In addition to the magnesium in your multi-nutrient, I recommend an additional magnesium supplement of 100–200 mg twice daily, with meals. Magnesium relaxes muscles, and can effectively open your bronchial tubes. A magnesium deficiency causes increased histamine release, which can constrict breathing and make your airway hypersensitive.
Vitamin B-6 has been shown to improve asthma symptoms and decrease the frequency, duration, and severity of attacks, and it can even help reduce wheezing. Take 25–50 mg of vitamin B-6 three times a day for one month, and then take 25–50 mg twice a day with meals. For long-term improvement, you are better off taking a vitamin B-complex, rather than B-6 alone.
Ginkgo biloba is also beneficial for asthma sufferers. It can reduce the likelihood of allergies and inflammation by reducing the levels of platelet-activating factors in your blood. Platelets are blood cells that help because the inflammation associated with allergies.
Drink plenty of water to prevent respiratory shutdown.Water is essential for keeping our respiratory tissues functioning appropriately. When your body senses a low water level, it goes into drought-management lockdown mode. While a single glass of water won’t knock down an attack in progress, the cumulative effect will show up in the weeks and months ahead.
Asthma triggers, severity and exact symptoms are different for each person — and so is the best asthma treatment plan. You’ll need to work closely with your doctor to develop a written asthma treatment plan that’s right for you.
Follow your treatment plan, and adopt these three key steps to help you get better control of your asthma.
1. Track your symptoms
Record your peak flow measurements and your symptoms in a diary every day. Always take the diary with you when you go to the doctor, so you can review it together and make any needed changes to your asthma treatment plan.
- Keep an asthma diary to record:
- Increased shortness of breath or wheezing — a whistling sound when you exhale
- Disturbed sleep caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Quick-relief (rescue) inhaler use, including when you need to use your inhaler and how many puffs you take
- Decreased productivity at work, school or home due to asthma symptoms
- Increased asthma symptoms during exercise
- Anything that seems to trigger asthma flare-ups, such as secondhand tobacco smoke or pollution
2. Check your lung function
Lung function tests can help determine your level of asthma control. Decreased lung function is a sign you need to adjust your medications according to your treatment plan. If you’re following your treatment plan but still have decreased lung function, work with your doctor to adjust your medications. There are two primary lung function tests:
- Peak flow. By learning how to use a simple, hand-held device called a peak flow meter, you can detect subtle changes in your airways before you notice symptoms. A peak flow meter can be used at home to measure how well you can breathe. Peak expiratory flow (PEF) is the reading that indicates the fastest rate at which you force air out of your lungs. If your PEF readings are lower than usual, it’s a sign your asthma may be about to flare up. Your doctor can give you instructions on how to deal with low readings as part of your asthma treatment plan.
- Spirometery. Spirometery tests are lung function (pulmonary) tests done at your doctor’s office with a machine called a spirometer. Some people also use a hand-held spirometer to take measurements at home. Spirometry tests measure how much air your lungs can hold and how much air you can exhale after you’ve taken a deep breath. This measurement is called forced expiratory volume (FEV). Your doctor compares your FEV measurement with the predicted result for people who don’t have asthma. This comparison is expressed as a percentage. Lower percentages mean your lungs aren’t working as well as they should be, a sign your asthma is flaring up.