The chronic inflammation of the bronchioles, or the breathing passage of the lungs, leads to asthma. People with asthma have an ongoing, lifelong battle with the disease. Asthma is often referred to as an obstructive lung disease because of the difficulty in inhaling and exhaling air.
Asthma falls under the category of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Although the chronic obstructive lung disease called asthma cannot be cured it can be controlled through medication and by following proper preventive measures. People, who start on asthma treatment early on, have a better chance of controlling asthma. These individuals are likely to suffer from fewer and less severe attacks of asthma as compared to people who do not take proper asthma medication.
The problem of asthma is on the rise through out the world. In fact in the United States alone, nearly twenty two million people are suffering from asthma. There are many factors which can trigger an asthma attack including pollution, exercise, impaired immunity and even obesity. Through this article we will examine some effective asthma treatment methods like usage of nebulizers, bronchodilators, inhalers and steroids which can not only provide short term relief to the asthma patient but also help in long term control of the disease.
Asthma medication that is normally delivered via asthma inhalers can either be bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory drugs or a combination of the two medications. Corticosteroids or steroids are used as anti inflammatory drugs and these medications are normally prescribed for long term control of asthma attacks. On the other hand for short term relief, inhalers with bronchodilators are used.
Steroids, Anti Inflammatory Drugs and Asthma
Steroids and other anti inflammatory drugs which are used as asthma medications not only help in controlling asthma but they also help to reduce the frequency of attacks. During asthma attack there is an inflammation of the air passage along with an increase in mucous production. The anti inflammatory and steroidal drugs help in reducing not only the swelling, but also the mucous production, there by enabling the asthma patient to breathe with ease.
By taking these medications through inhalers, there are many long term benefits including fewer symptoms, fewer flare-ups, better control of the problem of asthma and lesser incidence of hospitalizations.
Bronchodilators and Asthma
Bronchodilators are basically used to open up the air passageway so that a person can breathe better. Bronchodilators are categorized as short acting and long acting dilators. Short acting bronchodilators provide immediate relief while people use long term bronchodilators basically to keep asthma attacks under control.
Short acting bronchodilators which also go by the name of reliever, rescue or quick acting medication provide fast relief to the asthma patient. The beneficial effects of short acting bronchodilators lasts for anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. Long acting bronchodilators normally helps to control an asthma attack. The effects of these long term bronchodilators last for up to twelve hours.
A handheld device which delivers medication directly into the airways, asthma inhalers are one of the most effective and common ways of combating the problem of asthma. There are basically four types of asthma inhalers including dry powder inhalers, metered dose inhalers, bronchodilator asthma inhalers and anti- inflammatory asthma inhalers. These inhalers work in different ways.
Dry Powder Inhalers
The medication which is used inside this inhaler comes in a dry powder form. The medication is basically a combination of bronchodilators and anti- inflammatory drugs. The dry powder inhaler is quite difficult to use mostly because a patient may not be able to take a deep breath to completely inhale the medication during an asthma attack.
Metered Dose Inhalers
Here an aerosol inhaler supplies metered doses of the asthma drug as gentle puffs into the patient’s mouth. Most patients prefer to use this type of inhaler because of the convenience.
Bronchodilator Asthma Inhaler
This type of inhaler is used to treat specific asthma symptoms including cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. These inhalers help to open up the air passage way and provides quick relief to the asthma patient. A patient can choose between short acting and long acting inhaled bronchodilators.
Anti- Inflammatory Asthma Inhalers
The anti inflammatory asthma inhalers as the name indicates are used to reduce the inflammation or the swelling of the air passageway which makes breathing difficult. Not only do these inhalers help in reducing the inflammation of the inner lining of the airways, it also reduces excessive mucous production. Mast cell stabilizers and corticosteroids are normally used in these inhalers.
Besides inhaled steroids, oral steroids are also used to control an asthma attack. Also called systemic corticosteroids, oral steroids help to prevent an asthma attack completely or stop an asthma attack from worsening. There is one major difference between inhaled steroids and oral steroids. Inhaled steroids deliver the medication directly into the lungs and hence have little body wide effect. On the other hand oral steroids taken to control an asthma attack can affect the whole body.
People use oral steroids when they do not get adequate relief from inhalers during an asthma attack. But unlike inhaled steroids oral steroids should be used only sparingly. Oral steroids not only help in reducing the inflammation inside ones air passage during an asthma attack, it also helps to control other asthmatic symptoms including wheezing, chronic cough, shortness or breath and chest tightness. Prednisone is a good example of an oral steroid used for controlling an asthma attack.
If large amounts of inhaled medication are required to control an asthma attack, people use a nebulizer instead of an inhaler. Nebulizers are very effective for treating asthma problems in infants and young children who may have difficulty in using a regular asthma inhaler.
Also called the ‘breathing treatment’, nebulzer’s help to covert medication from a liquid to a mist form. Nebulizer’s are available in either a table top or a portable model. Table top models are ideal for home use while portable nebulizers can be used to give a quick dose on medication as and when the patient requires.