By Thomas L. Johnson II, MD –
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that results in bronchial passages being particularly sensitive to irritants. It is primarily characterized by labored or difficult breathing. Asthma is a leading chronic condition that affects both adults and children. Although there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to control it so that only minimal and infrequent symptoms arise which allows those affected to live an active life.
If you suffer from asthma, managing it is an important part of your life. Controlling asthma involves avoiding things that bother your airways and taking medicines under your doctor’s direction. With daily asthma control, serious symptoms can be prevented and it is possible to participate in all normal activities. When asthma is not well-controlled, symptoms may occur causing you to miss school or work and may keep you from enjoying other activities as well.
Managing and controlling asthma is very important for asthma sufferers. Knowing the triggers that affect your airways and learning to avoid these things is key. Some examples of triggers include smoke, cold air, infections, allergies and strong emotions.
If you smoke or allow smoking in your home, you should stop. Wash sheets, blankets, and pillows once a week and look into dust-proof covers for mattresses and pillows to help control dust mites. If the pollen count is too high, stay indoors.
Asthma sufferers affected by cold air should wear a scarf over the mouth and nose in winter, and should wash their hands often and get a flu shot to prevent colds and the flu. If animal dander is a problem, owning a pet and avoiding pet allergens is nearly impossible. Keep the pet out of the house, or at least out of your bedroom, and wash your pet often. An air purifier and HEPA equipped vacuum cleaner may be helpful.
Once you know what your triggers are and how to control them, you should make a plan of action with your physician. Your doctor will help you figure out if any of your current medications are affecting your asthma, and what asthma medication is right for you. You should follow your asthma plan properly with the correct usage of your medication. If you’re unsure about the use of your medication, consult your doctor, who can teach you how to properly use the inhaler or other treatment methods.
The goal of any asthma treatment is to find effective ways to control symptoms in order for the individual to maintain a high quality of life. Asthma treatment and control is about helping the individual to maintain good lung capacity and reduce symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. It is also about helping the person to sleep well at night and to remain active throughout the day.
Those who suffer from this disease need to work closely with their physician to come up with effective ways to manage it and to find ways to keep it from getting any worse. If you are using your rescue inhaler more than two times per week, or waking up at night more than two nights a week suggests that your asthma is not controlled.
Asthma can be treated with two different kinds of medicines: long-term control and quick relief medicines. Long-term control medicines have as their goal to reduce inflammation in the airways and to prevent asthma symptoms from showing up. Quick relief medicines which are sometimes referred to as rescue medicines help to relieve the symptoms of a flare-up when they come up out of the blue. Most asthma treatments involve both types of medicines to one extent or another.
Controlling your asthma is crucial, but if your asthma symptoms are not under control, it can get worse. If your symptoms happen more often and are getting worse, or you have to use a quick relief inhaler often (every day is too often), you should contact your doctor for a change in medication or other steps to control your asthma.
Asthma affects so many people and should be managed and controlled to keep the dilemma from getting out of hand. Using and sticking to a plan that works for both you and your doctor is the only way to ensure that your asthma is controlled properly.
Allergy & Asthma Care of Florida