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Oct
18

Asthma Management: Taking Control of Asthma

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Asthma Management: Taking Control of Asthma

Asthma can be a frightening condition and one that can limit your enjoyment of life without an Asthma Management plan of action. While one single asthma cure is still not available, you and your doctor can still work together to hammer out a plan for the treatment of asthma. Many medications are available that can keep asthma symptoms well-controlled and by making some simple modifications to your environment and lifestyle, you can make it easier to breathe comfortably.

Treatments for Controlling Asthma

Medications

Steroids: Both inhaled and oral steroids are used in the treatment of asthma. Inhaled steroids like Flovent are taken on a daily basis to help keep asthma symptoms well controlled. Oral steroids like prednisone are often prescribed to help fight a flare up of symptoms. These medications reduce swelling and prevent mucus production, which results in lungs that are less sensitive and less reactive to asthma triggers.

Bronchodilators: The most common and well-known of these is the albuterol inhaler. These medications are used on an emergency basis to treat an attack while it is happening. They relax the muscles that have tightened around the airways, allowing them to open again quickly so that breathing can improve.

Other medications used to treat asthma are:

– mast-cell stabilizers like cromolyn sodium
– theophylline
– leukotrine modifiers like Singulair
– Xolair, an injectable that is used when other treatments have failed

Medications are often used in combination to keep symptoms under control. Many inhaled medications combine a corticosteroid with a bronchodilator for better coverage. Be sure to take your medication as prescribed for the best results.

Keeping Asthma Under Control

Lifestyle Modifications

Do you know what triggers your asthma? Different people have different triggers and some are avoidable while others are not. Some common asthma triggers are:

– secondhand smoke and other environmental smoke sources
– dust mites
– outdoor and indoor air pollution
– pet dander
– mold and mildew allergies
– respiratory viruses, like influenza or RSV
– acid reflux
– strenuous exercise
– strong emotions
– medications

Consider having your doctor test you for allergies. You may be able to avoid these triggers. If you find out that one of your triggers is the family dog, don’t despair. You can still keep your pet, but you will have to modify the environment a bit. Don’t allow the dog to come into your bedroom and vacuum regularly. Other steps you can take to breathe easier and keep asthma flares to a minimum include:

– Get an air purifier with a HEPA filter. In addition to removing pet dander from the air, a HEPA filter will remove other pollutants from the air like smoke, dust, and mold.
– Don’t smoke! If you currently smoke, quit. Talk to your doctor for tips on how to do this as painlessly as possible. Try to avoid other people who smoke. Even the lingering smoke smell on their clothing can be enough to trigger an asthma attack.
– Avoid exercising when it is cold out, or breathe through a scarf. Cold air can trigger spasms in lungs that can result in an asthma attack.
– Use allergen-free products as much as possible. Use plastic allergen covers on your bed and pillows to avoid your asthma being triggered by dust that can settle there.