Key points about asthma treatments

Key points about asthma treatments

  • 2019-09-04

If you or a loved one has asthma, you should know about the most effective treatments for short-term relief and long-term control. Understanding asthma treatments will help you and your asthma doctor confidently manage your asthma symptoms daily. When you do have symptoms or an asthma attack, it's important to know when to call your doctor to prevent an asthma emergency.

These are medications you breathe in. You use them to ease asthma symptoms when they happen. They relax the muscles that tighten around the airways. This helps to open them up so you can breathe easier. If you’re using this type of medication more than 2 days a week, see your doctor. These medications include:

Short-acting beta-agonists, which are the first choice for quick relief of asthma symptoms.

Anticholinergics to reduce mucus in addition to opening your airways. They take longer to work than short-acting beta-agonists.

Oral corticosteroids to lower swelling in your airways

Combination quick-relief medicines contain both an anticholinergic and a short-acting beta-agonist. If you can’t use an inhaler, you might get them from a nebulizer, a machine that helps you breathe in medicine.

These medications work over the long term to treat symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. They reduce swelling and mucus in your airways. As a result, the airways are less sensitive and less likely to react to asthma triggers. They include:

Inhaled corticosteroids to prevent swelling. They also reduce mucus in your lungs. They’re the most effective long-term control medicines. Corticosteroids aren’t the same as anabolic steroids people use to grow muscle.

Inhaled long-acting beta-agonists to open your airways by relaxing the smooth muscles around them. You’ll take this medication along with an inhaled corticosteroid.

Combination inhaled medicines, which pair an inhaled corticosteroid with a long-acting beta-agonist. This is an easy way to take them together.

Biologics that target a cell or protein in your body to prevent airway inflammation. They can either be shots or infusions you get every few weeks. They’re expensive, so you usually get them if other medications don’t work.

Leukotriene modifiers to relax the smooth muscles around your airways and ease swelling. You can take them as pills or liquids.

Cromolyn, which prevents your airways from swelling when they come into contact with an asthma trigger. It’s a non-steroids medicine that comes in an inhaler.

Theophylline to relax the smooth muscles that narrow your airways. It comes as a tablet, capsule, solution, or syrup to take by mouth.

Long-acting bronchodilators. You might use these along with corticosteroids if you have ongoing asthma symptoms despite treatment with a daily inhaled steroid. Never use long-acting bronchodilators alone as a long-term asthma treatment.

Oral corticosteroids. If no other medicine can get your asthma attacks under control, your doctor might have you take these medications for a couple of weeks. They come in pills or liquids.

How Do You Take Asthma Medications?

Asthma Inhalers

Asthma inhalers are the most common and effective way to deliver asthma medicine to the lungs. They’re available in several types that work in different ways. Some deliver one medication. Others contain two different medications.

Asthma Nebulizer

If you’re having trouble using small inhalers, your doctor may prescribe an asthma nebulizer. This machine changes asthma medications from a liquid to a mist so it’s easier to get the medicine into your lungs. It also has a mouthpiece or mask that makes it a good option for infants, small children, older adults, or anyone who has trouble using inhalers with spacers. It does take a few more minutes than using an inhaler.

Other Asthma Treatments

Medications aren’t the only way to control asthma. Your doctor might try:

Bronchial thermoplasty. People with asthma often have extra smooth muscle in their airway walls. In this procedure, the doctor uses a small tube known as a bronchoscope to send heat to the walls and reduce the smooth muscle. You’ll get the treatment over three visits about 2 or 3 weeks apart.

Alternative Asthma Treatments

In addition to following your treatment plan, you can try:

1.Breathing exercises. These can lower the amount of medication you need to control your symptoms.

2.Herbal and natural remedies. Things that may help improve asthma symptoms include:

3.Black seed oil (Nigella sativa). Some studies have shown it can help open airways.

4.Caffeine. It’s a mild bronchodilator (meaning it can open your airways), but it doesn’t work as fast as medications. Avoid if for several hours before any doctor’s appointment that might include a lung function test.

5.Choline. This substance helps with bodily functions. You can get it in meat, liver, eggs, poultry, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and cauliflower or from a supplement.

6.Pycnogenol. You can get this pine bark extract as a supplement.

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