How to Treat Asthma
Asthma is one of the leading chronic diseases experienced by children. In fact, children are more likely to have asthma than adults. This is due to the fact that many individuals actually outgrow asthma as they age. In this article you will learn how to treat asthma so you can effectively manage your symptoms.
Treatment and Management of Asthma
There are many ways to treat asthma. Treatment options will often depend on the type of asthma you have. For the most part, individuals have an asthmatic action plan. This means taking certain medication when you notice or anticipate symptoms. Here’s what further management can involve.
1. Oxygen Concentrator
Your doctor will recommend an oxygen concentrator in severe cases or if you get intense asthma attacks, as your body can have an especially difficult time receiving oxygen. Through a mask or nasal prongs, you will breathe in oxygen from a tank. This can be done from the comfort of your home, or you may be required to travel to a medical center. Either way, this treatment will help you feel more energized so you can participate in your everyday routine.
2. Track Your Symptoms
Keep an asthma journal for you or your child. Record when symptoms present. This can help identify potential triggers and lessen their impact.
3. Keep Track of Your Lung Function
Use either peak flow or a spirometry to measure your lung function. Most individuals use a peak flow meter at home. This measures how quickly you can exhale the air completely from your lungs. Spirometry, on the other hand, is more common in the doctor’s office. However, some individuals use an at-home device as well.
4. Perform Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can help you practice getting enough air in your lungs. This may also help improve your lung capacity, which may decrease asthmatic symptoms in the future.
5. Use Rescue Medications
These medications are frequently only used when an asthma attack occurs. They include:
- Nebulizers or rescue inhalers.
Further, long-term medications are also often used to manage daily symptoms.
6. Avoid Triggers
The best thing asthmatic individuals can do is to avoid triggers that lead to severe asthmatic symptoms, which could lead to an asthmatic attack.
How Do You Know Your Asthma is Under Control?
Well-controlled and managed asthmatic individuals only experience symptoms twice a week or less. They rarely wake up during the night and their asthma barely impacts their daily activities.
On the other hand, asthma is poorly controlled if symptoms occur daily, a rescue inhaler is needed multiple times a day and these symptoms lead to interference with one’s daily life. Further, your asthma isn't managed well if your lung and breathing tests show 60% less than your personal best.
When it comes to managing an asthma attack, removing any known triggers can help. For instance, stopping the activity causing it and taking slow, deep breaths may halt an attack. However, if attempts to get an attack under control fail, including medication, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Asthma to Be Aware Of
How can you tell if you or your child has asthma? The following symptoms of asthma are common:
- Coughing, especially when laughing, exercising or at night.
- Wheezing or whistling sounds when breathing.
- Chest tightness.
- Difficulty breathing.
However, the type of asthma you have may influence what symptoms you experience.
Types of Asthma
Understanding the type of asthma you have can help you manage it. There are many different kinds, but we provide an overview of the most common six.
While it is more common to develop asthma as a child, it can arise during your adult years. Adult-onset asthma develops as an adult. This may be due to potentially never, or rarely, coming across asthmatic triggers. Occasionally, an infection may trigger asthma.
Allergic triggers can bring on an asthma flare-up. For instance, dust or pollen can cause wheezing, coughing or shortness of breath. This is what is known as allergic asthma.
Asthma-COPD overlap refers to an individual who experiences asthma symptoms but also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is categorized as various lung diseases that obstruct normal breathing and airflow. While the majority of individuals with COPD do not have asthma, it is possible to have both, which is called asthma-COPD overlap.
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction is where asthmatic symptoms develop during exercise. Most individuals with asthma have this type where breathing becomes more difficult with high-intensity exercise. Individuals with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction may not have asthmatic symptoms in other situations.
Non-allergic asthma is triggered by non-allergic entities, such as stress, extreme weather or illness. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what the trigger is, so speaking with a doctor or health care professional can be beneficial.
Occupational asthma refers to asthmatic symptoms that arise at work. This may be caused by chemical fumes, irritants or other pollutants. People often notice this type of asthma comes about when they switch jobs or when they notice they feel fine outside of work.
Learn How to Properly Manage Your Symptoms
Asthma is an entirely manageable condition. It just takes a plan and knowing what causes your symptoms in the first place. Educate yourself and your family or friends on what to do in the case of an asthma attack, and ensure you take the proper precautions to prevent one. The more you do and know, the better equipped you are to handle and manage your asthma.