Although it is not curable, asthma is manageable with a good medical plan, trigger avoidance, and a support team of family, friends, and caregivers who help the person with asthma stay as symptom-free as possible. Like the legs of a 3-legged stool, all of these components are needed to control asthma.
Try to avoid or stop symptoms before they begin. Avoiding triggers is the best way to reduce the amount of medicine needed to control asthma. In some cases, allergy medicine (or shots) may help control asthma.
Signs of Controlled Asthma
* Free of asthma symptoms
* Fewer attacks
* Less use of short-acting bronchodilators
* Symptom-free when doing normal activities
Although there is no cure for asthma, when properly treated, people with asthma lead normal lives. A doctor and patient (and/or patient's family) should work together to decide on treatment goals and what is needed to avoid or reduce symptoms and achieve those goals.
Begin with the first component of the 3-Part Plan, good medical management:
There are excellent medicines available to help control asthma so that it does not interfere with daily life. Asthma is reversible. That is, with medication, the worsening of symptoms can be stopped, or reversed. It is important to take asthma medicine properly. There are two types.
1. Long-term/controller medicines controls chronic tissue inflammation and excess mucus production. Persistent asthma calls for long-term control medicine every day, even when there are no symptoms. The full effects of controller meds will not be felt for a few weeks.
2. Quick-relief/rescue medicines give rapid, short-term treatment by relaxing the muscles that can constrict quickly around the airways. Rescue meds bring relief within minutes. All new HFA inhalers require priming before using. (See side panels.) It is important to understand how to use an inhaler so that a full dose is released.
|How to Care for an HFA Inhaler
|Without weekly cleaning, HFA mouthpieces can get clogged and stop working.
To clean, remove the metal canister and cap. Run warm water through the mouthpiece for 30 seconds.
Shake off. Air dry. Canisters must never be submerged in water or allowed to get wet.
Exercise and Asthma
Many excellent athletes have asthma. They avoid exercise-induced asthma episodes by warming up beforehand and using quick-relief medication 10 minutes prior to activity.
Everyone should know the steps to take for an asthma attack.