10 Ways to Treat Asthma

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

10 Ways to Treat Asthma 1. Inhalation Corticosteroids These cortisone-like medicines are frequently
prescribed by doctors to people struggling with asthma. If they’re used properly, they can significantly
reduce the intensity of asthma symptoms, including difficulty breathing and coughing. They’re also designed to help reduce the
number and severity of asthma attacks, which can be very dangerous. Of course, inhalation corticosteroids are
hardly perfect. According to the Mayo Clinic, corticosteroids
won’t stop an asthma attack that has already started – meaning they’re not a great
emergency tool. Also, they won’t have a significant impact
on asthma symptoms if the patient fails to use them regularly—which in most cases will
mean every day (or even several times each day). That can make them problematic for children
and people with memory difficulties. 2. Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists Leukotriene receptor antagonists are a non-steroidal
oral medication for asthma. Often referred to as LTRAs or anti-inflammatory
bronchoconstriction preventors, the Asthma Society of Canada notes that they’re effective
because they stop the chemical reaction that can result in significant inflammation of
the lungs, thereby making it easier for an asthma patient to breathe. Leukotriene receptor antagonists are rarely
the first treatment pursued by doctors following an asthma diagnosis. Typically, physicians will employ an inhaled
steroid and, should that fail, may turn to LTRAs. This form of treatment is particularly effective
for people who prefer pills over inhalers, which can be difficult to use—particularly
for seniors and children. They also have few of the side effects seen
with inhaled steroids, though LTRAs are often less effective. 3. Short-Acting Beta Agonists Short-acting beta agonists help reduce tightening
of the muscles surrounding the airways by forcing these muscles to relax and widen—resulting
in easier breathing for the asthma patient. Currently, there are 2 different kinds of
beta agonists on the market: short-acting and long-acting. Short-acting beta agonists can be effective
within 5-minutes of being taken, but tend to have an impact for only 4- to 6-hours. Unlike long-acting beta agonists, short-acting
beta agonists can be used to have an immediate impact and are ideal for emergencies—like
asthma attacks. However, they shouldn’t be used more than
once or twice a week 4. Long-Acting Beta Agonists Unlike short-acting beta agonists, Long-acting
beta agonists last much longer than 4-to 6-hours—up to 12-hours, in some cases. The American Thoracic Society (ATC) considers
long-acting beta agnonists maintenance drugs, which means they must be taken over a longer
period in order to be fully effective. Long-acting beta agonists are designed for
people with persistent asthma problems—to the point where they are suffering some serious
breathing problems on a regular basis and having to use short-acting beta agonists more
than a few times each week. Popular long-acting beta agonist products
include Advair and Symbicort. Most of these products employ a steroid to
help relax the muscles surrounding the airways. 5. Antihistamines Antihistamines can be a useful treatment for
asthma. However, it’s important to keep in mind
that antihistamines—like Allegra or Benadryl—can come with significant side effects, including
drowsiness. In addition, FamilyDoctor.org states that
some antihistamines may conflict with other medications, so it’s important every asthma
patient consult their doctor before using an antihistamine to treat their condition. Overall, antihistamines are useful when treating
infrequent, less intense bouts of asthma. Those people who frequently deal with serious
shortness of breath should talk to their physician about a treatment that more directly addresses
their condition. 6. Xolair Xolair, which is also known as omalizumab,
is an antibody designed to reduce the body’s allergic responses. The drug is most often prescribed to help
people deal with severe asthma in adults and children over the age of 12. It won’t help stop an asthma attack and
is typically prescribed only after many other medicines have been tried, without success. In other words, Xolair is not for people with
mild asthma. In fact, it’s designed for people who have
such severe problems with asthma that the condition could be considered life threatening. It’s also important to note that Xolair
can have serious side effects. In some cases people have suffered severe
allergic reactions right after taking the drug, which is typically injected into the
skin and given only once every two to four weeks. 7. Allergy Shots You’ve probably heard of people treating
severe seasonal allergies with allergy shots, which can be administered every week or every
month. But allergy shots—which contain a tiny amount
of an allergen (or something the patient is allergic to)—can also be used to treat asthma. In essence, allergy shots work much like a
vaccine. The idea is to inject the body with something
it doesn’t like in order to build up its resistance to that invader. Significant research from WebMD found that
allergy shots for asthma were as effective as inhaled steroids, which could make them
a useful option for people who have trouble using inhalers. 8. Oral Corticosteroids Oral corticosteroids are typically used by
people who struggle to properly employ inhalers. Like inhaler-based corticosteroids, they are
designed to reduce asthma-induced swelling around the airways, making it easier for a
patient to breathe. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation,
oral corticosteroids have been shown to be effective in treating serious asthmatic conditions,
though they’re not intended to be taken over a long period of time. In fact, many doctors want their patients
to take oral corticosteroids for just a few days or weeks at a time, allowing patients’
bodies to build up their own, natural resistance to inflammation. Although they can be easier to use than inhalers,
oral corticosteroids have more visible side effects because they affect all parts of the
body and not just airways. 9. Theophylline Theophylline is a popular treatment for asthma
and is available in several forms, including pill, capsule, liquid, and injection. Like other asthma treatments, it’s designed
to reduce inflammation in and around the lungs, making it easier for patients to breathe. WebMD notes that theophylline is typically
prescribed to people with mild or moderate asthma conditions and can be used in combination
with an inhaled corticosteroid. In most cases a physician will prescribe an
inhaled corticosteroid first and turn to Theophylline if the problem persists. If you’re thinking of using Theophylline,
note that it can interact with other medicines—so be sure your doctor knows everything you’re
taking before you use the drug. 10. Combination Medications Sometimes the most effective treatment for
asthma involves combining medications. A popular one-two solution involves building
a pair of controller medications into one inhaler. In essence, controller medications employ
both a long-acting bronchodilator (or LABA) and an inhaled corticosteroid. According to the Asthma Society of Canada,
when used properly, this method allows the bronchodilator to widen the airways, allowing
a patient to breathe, while the inhaled steroid sets to work reducing inflammation throughout
the respiratory system. Of course, combination medication do have
side effects, including rapid heartbeat, nervousness, and throat irritation.

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