How To Treat Asthma
Looking for how to treat asthma? A WebMD article defines asthma as, "a chronic disease that involves inflammation of the airways superimposed with recurrent episodes of decreased airflow, mucus production, and cough." For millions of people suffering from asthma, the bottom line is that sometimes it's so hard to just breathe. There currently is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed, allowing asthma suffers to lead normal lives. If you are looking for information on how to treat asthma, consider reading this article and researching the following options: prescribed asthma medication, over-the-counter medication and alternative remedies.
You will need one of the following:
- bronchodilator (prescribed)
- Prescribed asthma medications will more than likely provide the most relief for asthma suffers. Why? Because a physician will be involved in evaluating patient specific symptoms. Asthma is not a one-size-fits-all disease, therefore there is no "miracle medication" prescribed. Physicians and healthcare providers prescribe asthma medications to either relax the lung airways for easier breathing, or to reduce airway inflammation and swelling. Sometimes they prescribe a combination of the two. The most popular prescribed medication is a bronchodilator (inhaler), which relaxes the airway muscles making it easier to breathe. A short-acting bronchodilator works instantly to provide relief. A long-acting bronchodilator is generally used with an anti-inflammatory medicine that reduces mucus and airway swelling. Known as corticosteroids or steroids, these medicines are usually inhaled, but occasionally are distributed in pill form, specifically when used for short time periods. It's important to follow your caregiver’s advice on which medications to use and when to use them
- Over-the-counter-asthma medications are available to provide short-term, limited relief. They may provide relief for twenty to thirty minutes, but they don't control chronic asthma symptoms or prevent asthma attacks from occurring. For the most part, they work alone as a bronchodilator to relax airway muscles. Over-the-counter-medications can help, but often hinder. Their intent is to be used for short-term relief, but people often overuse them instead of long-term treatments. It doesn't work. Over-the-counter-asthma-medication cannot control asthma. Also, they shouldn't be consistently used with prescribed asthma medication. Consult a physician and let them work with you on how to treat asthma.
- Alternative remedies don't provide the magic answer on how to treat asthma. Natural remedies such as relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, yoga and biofeedback are proven methods of relieving stress. Emotional stress is known to trigger asthma, so at best, those natural remedies may indirectly reduce or subdue asthma symptoms. Physical exercise in general, is highly recommend to increase oxygen and facilitate increased lung capacity. Acupuncture, the ancient Chinese medicine, has been applauded for scientifically improving lung function and reducing asthma attacks. An asthma diet restricting sugar and dairy products reportedly has helped children with asthma, but no conclusive studies of these topics have been confirmed or approved.
- Alternative remedies such as herbs and supplements provide even less relief. Scientific studies have looked at omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C, but not enough evidence exists to support them. For years, ephedra, a weight loss supplement, was used as a bronchodilator. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) banned Ephedra in December 2003.
How to treat asthma successfully depends on seeing a physician or healthcare provider and faithfully taking prescribed medications, exercising, monitoring asthma symptoms daily, getting a handle on what triggers discomfort and avoiding your asthma triggers has much as possible.