Asthma – Treatment
Asthma – Treatment
There is no current cure for asthma. This is why future genetics has developed a targeted approach in the form of focused research studies with a view to finding a cure.
Fortunately there are effective treatments for asthma so long as they are used in the correct fashion and timely manner.
Medicines for asthma are mostly taken in the form of inhalers. Inhalers are devices that allow asthmatics to breathe in medicine. For patients who’s asthma is severe the doctor will usually prescribe tablets in addition to the inhalers.
The GP or specialist asthma nurse may create a personal action plan for the asthma patient. The plan will contain information including the names of the prescribed medicines, a framework for monitoring the condition, and actions that need to be taken in the event of an asthma attack.
Inhalers are the main treatment for the majority of people with asthma. There are two types of inhalers:
- Reliever inhalers that are designed to control or relieve the symptoms of asthma.
- Preventer inhalers that act to reduce the likelihood of asthma symptoms presenting themselves
Most asthmatics will be given a reliever inhaler, which usually come in blue.the reliever inhalers are taken when symptoms present themselves. Fortunately the medicines that are sprayed into the air passages are usually effective in that they can rapidly control the asthma symptoms within minutes. If a person has three or more separate episodes of asthma symptoms, where clearly the person should immediately use their blue [pick up inhaler] reliever inhaler, then they need to contact their GP or specialist asthma nurse.
The healthcare professional may then decide to prescribe an additional inhaler which is called the preventer.
Reliever inhalers, like other medicines do have some side effects. Some people may experience an elevated or increased heart beat or shaking for a few minutes after they have used their inhaler but these side effects subside after that
As I have just pointed out in the previous section your GP or specialised asthma nurse may prescribe an additional preventer inhaler if a person is finding that they are finding they are using their reliever inhaler on a regular basis.
The clue about using preventer inhalers is in the name. they should be used daily even though the person does not have any symptoms. This is because the goal is to prevent symptoms rather than to control any asthma event.
The preventer inhaler works by reducing inflammation or swelling and sensitivity of the airway passages.
Your asthma personal action plan should allow you to document asthma symptom episodes. If you continue to have regular symptom events despite taking the preventer inhaler then please see your GP or specialist asthma nurse.
Preventer inhalers are used to administer a steroid medicine. These types of steroids don’t usually have common side effects but some patients report;
- A mouth or throat infection which is sometimes called oral thrush
- Having a hoarse voice
- Developing a sore throat.
These side effects may be reduced if you attach something called a spacer to your inhaler.
As you can see a spacer is simply a hollow plastic tube. Another way of reducing the above side effects is to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after using an inhaler.
Combination inhalers. When the use of both reliever and preventer inhalers fails to control the asthma then your GP or specialist asthma nurse may switch your treatment to a combination inhaler.
Combination inhalers are used daily in order to reduce the likelihood of asthma symptoms presenting and should person experience any symptoms then use of the combination inhaler should result in a longer lasting relief from the symptoms
The side effects of combination inhalers are similar to the relief and preventer devices.