Strategizing Your Asthma Treatment Protocol

Asthma is a remarkably common inflammatory disease impacting the lung’s airways. Studies conducted in 1990 revealed that just over 180 million people suffered from asthma, with the number of afflicted persistently increasing over decades to result in nearly 360 million internationally.

Asthma is an unremitting, long-term disease that typically commences in the childhood years, posing significant burdens well into adulthood. A multi-dimensional disease, asthma is identified by impacted airways within the lungs, ultimately causing a range of recurring symptoms.

Experts have theorized that the disease is partly caused by environmental elements such as allergens and pollution, in addition to hereditary aspects. Substantive asthma diagnoses are established in the presence of a particular group of symptoms, along with measured responses to therapy over time, and spirometry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (commonly referred to as the CDC), thirteen million Americans diagnosed with asthma suffered a trigger-based asthma attack in the last year.

Concluding that a vast majority of those attacks could have been avoided. the CDC has led a noteworthy asthma education campaign informing patients that proper treatment methods are imperative to lead lives that are largely symptom-free.

Many asthmatics have tried their fair share of medicines with varying levels of success in symptom relief. Of the many treatment methods involved, including, but not limited to, steroids, anti-inflammatories, and oxygen therapies, it is the use of variable-length bronchodilators that ultimately dictate levels of sustainable relief.

Read on below to learn essential information on how your asthma diagnosis dictates your specific treatment plan and how you can strategize your way to living the comfortable life you deserve.

How is Asthma Diagnosed?

Treatment protocols and medical devices for asthma are prescribed in relation to certain criteria, including the following:

  • Frequency of symptoms
  • Peak expiratory flow rate
  • Atopic or non-atopic classification
  • Forced expiratory volume: The measuring of air that can be forced out by taking a deep breath, an important measure of pulmonary function.

How is Asthma Treated?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, asthma is a long-term disease that presently has no cure. Thus, the goal of all asthmatics is to regulate and restrict their many burdensome symptoms.

Bronchodilator devices are an essential and first-line component of any asthma treatment protocol and are used by all asthmatics as a necessary means to widen airway passages in the lungs.

Bronchodilators come in short and long-acting designs with the former utilized as a rapid-relief medication often used in “rescue” types of situations where asthma symptoms unexpectedly flare up. The mechanism of action in these types of bronchodilators provide relief within mere minutes and last up to four hours.

Short-acting bronchodilators are intended to be used 2-3 times a week. It is of critical importance to note that asthma patients who exhibit an over-reliance on their short-acting bronchodilators need to explore alternative treatment methods, such as long-acting bronchodilators in combination with inhaled steroids.

While short-acting bronchodilators are intended for infrequent use to provide rapid relief in unexpected situations, long-acting bronchodilators are, in contrast, utilized in a daily manner to reliably maintain control of asthma symptoms.

Fast Facts About Short-acting Bronchodilators

  • Provides relief within minutes of inhalation
  • Lasts up to four hours
  • Commonly recommended for use before workouts to prevent symptoms caused by exercise

Popular Short-acting Bronchodilator Inhaler Brands

  • Albuterol: Also known as Proair HFA, Accuneb, Proventil HFA, and Ventolin HFA
  • Metaproterenol: Also widely available in generic nebulizer forms for mist-style therapy
  • Levalbuterol: Also known as Xopenex HFA
  • Pirbuterol: Also known as Maxair

Fast Facts About Long-acting Bronchodilators

  • Used for maintenance and control of asthma symptoms
  • Not prescribed for rapid relief of symptoms
  • Should always be used in combination with inhaled steroids for effective lasting control of symptoms
  • Recommended use is twice a day
  • Long-acting bronchodilators don’t produce direct effects on inflammation; rather they result in the relaxing of airways to comfortably enable the passage of sufficient air.

Popular Long-acting Bronchodilator Inhaler Brands

  • Symbicort (Can also prevent bronchospasm in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Advair
  • Dulera
  • Foradil (also known as formoterol)
  • Serevent (also known as salmeterol)
  • Perforomist (also available as a formoterol solution for nebulizers)

Conclusion

Asthma is a condition afflicting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide. Presently an incurable disease, asthma symptoms can be greatly mitigated by the abundance of relief-producing medications, products, and devices available on today’s consumers market.

Among the wide range of products available for asthmatics, bronchodilators remain the primary component in every patient’s treatment protocol. Available in two distinct forms, bronchodilators can provide instant relief in emergency situations or be readily incorporated into daily treatment regimes to control asthma in a sustainable and predictable manner.

Asthmatics no longer have to experience their lives in cautious anticipation of the wheezing tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing associated with their disease. Meeting with a doctor to assess an individual’s specific symptoms and can easily result in the creation of an optimized treatment protocol centering around a symptom-specific bronchodilator.

With the abundance of asthma aids available in today’s modern times, asthmatics diagnosed with mild, intermittent asthma or even chronic, persistent asthma are easily able to live the happy, healthy, and active lives they desire.

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