The goal of asthma treatment is to control the symptoms, rather than cure the disease because it can’t be cured. Proper treatment will help you avoid the typical symptoms, such as shortness of breath and coughing, reduce the need for quick-relief drugs, prevent attacks of asthma and let you maintain your healthy activity level. To manage your asthma, you are supposed to consult a qualified healthcare professional and see which drugs you need to be on. Many people prefer to buy asthma inhalers online, and that’s perfectly fine as long as you have already consulted a doctor and are aware of the action plan for asthma so to speak. Asthma is usually treated with two types of medicine: quick-relief drugs and long-term control medicine. Quick-relief drugs relieve asthma symptoms that may flare up and are used as an emergency, while long-term control medicines prevent such symptoms and reduce inflammation in the airways. Treatment of asthma usually involves using certain asthma inhalers, avoiding potential asthma triggers (except for when physical exercise is a trigger) and in general following your doctor’s recommendations. Although the option to buy asthma inhalers is a great way to save time and money, you still need to consult a doctor from time to time to make sure your treatment does not have to be adjusted. Drugs alone, no matter how safe and efficient, may not be enough to ensure the high quality of your everyday life.
Objectives of treating bronchial asthma:
- Ensuring and maintaining control over the symptoms of bronchial asthma for a long time;
- Reducing risks and preventing future exacerbations of the disease.
For solving problems, step therapy is used. The main principle of the step therapy is an increase in the volume of therapy in the absence of proper control over asthma (with its exacerbation) and a corresponding decrease in this volume while achieving stabilization of the condition, diminishing the symptoms of the disease. Steps contain information about treatment options that differ in their effectiveness. The level and volume of therapy is chosen by the attending physician and depends on the severity of asthma symptoms in a patient. The correct use of graduated therapy allows to evaluate the effectiveness of the selected treatment regimen. For example, if it is not possible to stabilize the exacerbation of asthma, it is necessary to check the technique of using inhalers. Check whether the patient fulfills the prescriptions and recommendations. Perhaps attention was not paid to concomitant diseases? Assessing these factors, the decision is made to change the volume of treatment.
Reducing the amount of therapy, such as frequency or dosage of inhalers, also requires caution. The severity of the disease should be taken into account when changing therapy. Patients are often mistaken in canceling medication in the early stages of asthma stabilization.
Medicines for treatment are divided into several groups:
- Fast, fast-acting drugs (Ventolin, Salbutamol, Berodual). These drugs relieve the patient’s condition in 5 – 15 minutes. These drugs are available in the form of pocket inhalers or suspensions for inhalation through a nebulizer. Almost every patient with asthma has an inhaler in his pocket for quick help with an attack. Most patients need these inhalers 1 or 2 times a week. But when the symptoms of bronchial asthma are pronounced and severe, the need for the use of rapid-acting inhalers increases. At the same time, their overdose can cause deterioration of the general state of health;
- For the basic treatment of asthma, asthmatics use a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs – IGCC (inhaled glucocorticosteroids – Budesonide, Mometasone, Beclazon) and long-acting bronchodilators (Formoterol, Salmeterol). The purpose of these drugs is to prevent the exacerbation of asthma symptoms and to control the disease. Anti-inflammatory effect is achieved by the action of corticosteroid hormones on inflammatory mediators – eosinophils, cytokines and other inflammatory cells;
- Pocket batch inhalers – means of drug delivery to the bronchi. They are specially designed for inhalation of the drug in the form of an aerosol or powder;
- Nebulizers are stationary inhalers – they are the means of drug delivery in the form of suspensions or solutions in the bronchi. They are used for exacerbation of asthma, especially severe.
For successful treatment, it is important to take all the medicines that the doctor prescribes. Patients should learn the proper use of inhalers. You may have to take medicine several times a day, and the absence of symptoms is not a reason to independently introduce corrections into the treatment regimen. You need to pay special attention to the proper use of inhalers. After all, there are a lot of modifications of drugs for inhalation therapy, and we know the peculiarities of using all the drugs. It may seem to the patient that the recommended drug does not work, but this does not mean that it does not help. If you have such doubts, consult your pulmonologist. It is important to know that improper treatment of asthma leads to changes in the lungs. Incorrect medication may lead you to a hospital bed.
Leukotriene receptor antagonists (anti-leukotriene agents – Montelukast and Zafirlukast). These drugs are less effective than inhaled corticosteroids for controlling asthma. The drug is effective in the atopic form of bronchial asthma, as well as patients with aspirin-type asthma and asthma of physical effort. These drugs suppress the narrowing of the bronchi in response to the inhalation of leukotrienes, reduce the asthmatic reaction to cold and physical effort.
Cromones are sodium cromoglycate and nedocromil. The efficacy and safety of modern inhaled steroids, the production of new anti-leukotriene drugs have led to the displacement of cromoglycate and nedocromil from the arsenal of pulmonologists.
Therapy with humanized antibodies to IgE – Omalizumab. It is a monoclonal antibody that can bind IgE circulating in a patient’s blood, having a pronounced mediated effect on allergens, reducing inflammation in the bronchi. This drug is most useful in severe forms of asthma, with eosinophilic inflammation, with an ineffective response to IGCC therapy. The efficiency is about 30%.
Methotrexate has a corticosteroid-sparing effect in the treatment of asthma. However, the use is limited by adverse reactions.
Theophylline has been used since the middle of the last century for the treatment of asthma. Their great advantage is their low price. Therefore, the drug is widespread in countries with a low economic level. However, theophylline revealed new properties that are being studied.
Specific immunotherapy (SIT or ASIT). It is used for allergic asthma. It’s a one-time and dangerous way to treat asthma, but also the only way to treat asthma that is able to give long-term remission in 70% of cases, with a full three-year cycle of treatment. The effect is achieved by reducing the immune response to gradually and periodically increasing doses of the administered allergen into the human body. It turns out something like an allergy vaccine. The method has many contraindications and limitations.
Rehabilitation of patients with bronchial asthma. It consists of a clear adherence to the plan of drug treatment by patients, training in control over their condition, asthma symptoms. Recommendations on the correct behavior in case of exacerbation of the disease fit into the individual plan. Physical exercises and simulators help to maintain the respiratory muscles in a trained state, providing tolerance to physical stress, improve cardiopulmonary function. Regular physical education will reduce the severity of exacerbations.
Prevention of bronchial asthma
Some asthmatics think that if triggers are avoided, then drug treatment is not necessary or at least can be reduced. This fact is not proven. But, nevertheless, Allergy Store can suggest the following as a preventive measure:
- do not cancel prescribed therapy on your own;
- elimination of risk factors for bronchial asthma. But the ecological state of the environment is not subject to the patient. Unfortunately, sometimes factors causing asthma exacerbation are found only at work. Then the patient faces the difficult question of choosing between asthma and making money;
- air purifiers in the apartment, the correct anti-allergenic regime in the period of flowering plants;
- exclusion of tobacco smoking;
- the climate in the apartment and at work – the presence and absence of excess doses of formaldehyde, phenols, etc. in the room;
- rehabilitation of foci of chronic infection in a patient. For example, chronic infections of the nose, larynx, pharynx, or gastrointestinal organs;
- salt caves or halotherapy is a safe method for the prevention of diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract and psycho-emotional unloading of the body. It’s not recommended to consider this technique as an asthma treatment. When undergoing spa treatment, salt caves are helpful.
Bronchial asthma and diet
An asthmatic should eat regularly! There are no diet recommendations confirmed by clinical studies. International studies have proven that asthma can be caused by an excess of salt intake and obesity. If you eat less salt and keep track of calories, there will be no problems. The asthma diet is used if you are allergic to food. There is only one recommendation – exclude these products from the diet and you will have no allergic reaction to them. Also, you must follow the diet prescribed by a doctor.