Asthma is the inflammation of the airways caused by allergens or irritants. During asthma attacks, the surrounding muscles of the airways become tense and the lining of the airways swell. Because of this, the flow of air going to the lungs is restricted, which may lead to wheezing sounds.
People with asthma or those who are referred to as asthmatics experience wheezing attacks or asthma breathing broken up by periods when there are no symptoms or signs of asthma. In some asthmatics, the main symptom could be cough. Common symptoms and signs of asthma include difficulty in breathing and chest tightness.
Asthma attacks can last from as short as a few minutes and may be as long as days. They are dangerous when there is severe restriction of airflow to the lungs and eventually to the different parts of the body.
Treatment of asthma and its management is individualized or may differ from one person to another because asthmatics react to different allergens. However, a general plan may be to control triggering factors of the asthma. It is crucial to control the environment and avoid exposure to extreme temperatures.
Parents of children with asthma and asthmatics themselves should work hand in hand with an allergist to ensure that the asthma is managed well and asthmatics, particularly children with asthma may continue normally with their daily life. Because of the fact that asthma is a long term disease, it requires long term management and treatment. Appropriate medication should be used to minimize airway swelling.
The medications for quickly relieving asthma and its symptoms include bronchodilators and corticosteroids. Bronchodilators work by opening up the airways, or dilating the airways so as to accommodate more airflow to the lungs, hence increasing airflow to the body. Bronchodilators may be inhaled, or taken through the nose, and are also called asthma inhalers.
Other forms of bronchodilators may come in tablet, liquid, or injection forms. On the other hand, corticosteroids may be given through tablets, injections, or inhalation (called asthma inhalers).
Corticosteroids that are inhaled or asthma inhalers come in different modifiers that can help control the inflammation of the airways in most asthmatics. Some modifiers are cromolyn, nedocromil, and leukotriene. Again, because the treatment of asthma is personalized, it is best that asthmatics should be guided by an allergist.
In the long term goal of controlling asthma, medications are of great importance and should be used on a regular basis to avoid the signs of asthma, treat its mild symptoms, and prevent attacks that disrupt everyday activities.
Asthma medications from time to time also need adjustment because one’s asthma changes and may get worse. Close monitoring done by an allergist is also beneficial. Asthmatics should also be well informed about asthma
triggers, its signs and symptoms, and its management. Hand in hand with an allergist, asthmatics should be ensured to become asthma-free as often as possible.