Asthma affects approximately 262 million people, making it a more common problem than we often acknowledge. While any attached stigma may be lessening, the potentially life-threatening effects of asthma are still very real. It is important to know if you have asthma, how severe that asthma is, and what treatment options you have available to you in case of general asthma, or an asthma attack. It is also critical to understand if any lifestyle changes may affect your asthma. Here are some facts about the disease and its treatment.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs, causing chest tightness, wheezing and breathlessness, and sometimes coughing in the morning or at night. It can be caused by a number of factors, but understanding the environmental triggers is critical to keeping your asthma from getting worse. Discussing these with your doctor will help you determine what needs to be removed from your environment.
How is Asthma Treated?
There are various medications that are intended to ease the difficulty in breathing from asthma or an asthma attack. You can take control of asthma by avoiding triggers and taking your medication exactly as prescribed. There are different medicines for different types of asthma – including pills and inhalers, the latter of which is breathed directly into the lungs. There are different types of medications, overall – some intended for quick relief of your symptoms and others that work on long-term control of your symptoms.
Do Asthma Treatments Have Side Effects?
Some asthma medications can come with side effects, but these are typically mild side effects, which disappear after a brief period. Your doctor and pharmacist can both walk you through the potential side effects so that you can best be prepared to handle them.
What is an Asthma Action Plan?
Your asthma action plan is something to be discussed with your doctor in order to properly control your asthma, through environmental changes and learning to spot when an attack is coming on. This will feature your medical options, including a regular inhaler or emergency inhaler, or pills in case you take pills to treat asthma, as well as your other options and how to seek medical attention if an attack hits.
What Do You Do if You Need Your Inhaler More and More?
If your quick-relief medication is needed with increasing frequency, you should discuss it with your doctor to see if your medications should be changed. Long-term asthma control meds help best if you have fewer attacks that are milder, but these are not for an asthma attack.
Since only a doctor can prescribe an inhaler and other asthma treatments, if you suspect you might have asthma, you should consult with a medical professional right away. Even if you end up never needing a normal inhaler or an emergency inhaler, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when dealing with your lungs. You should also stay on top of the expiration of any medications you have for treating your asthma, replacing inhalers and other medications before they expire.