Understanding asthma treatments will enable you to work with your asthma doctor to confidently manage your asthma symptoms daily. When you have an asthma attack or asthma symptoms, it’s important to know when to call your doctor to prevent an asthma emergency.
There are two basic types of medications used in asthma treatment: anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators.
Anti-inflammatory drugs, particularly inhaled steroids, are the most important treatment for asthma. These medications prevent asthma attacks and work by reducing swelling and mucus production in the airways. With these drugs, the airways are less sensitive and less likely to react to asthma triggers, so that asthma symptoms are relieved.
Bronchodilators relieve asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles that can tighten around the airways. This helps to open up the airways. Short-acting bronchodilators are often referred to as rescue inhalers that are used to quickly relieve the cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and shortness of breath caused by asthma. They may also be used prior to exercise for people with exercise-induced asthma. These should not be used daily in the routine treatment of asthma. Long-acting bronchodilators are sometimes used in combination with inhaled steroids or corticosteroids for control of asthma symptoms or when someone has ongoing asthma symptoms despite treatment with a daily inhaled steroid. Long-acting bronchodilators are never used alone as long-term treatment for asthma.
Asthma inhalers are the most common and effective way to deliver asthma drugs to the lungs. Some inhalers deliver one medication and others contain two different medications.
If you don’t like using small asthma inhalers, your doctor may prescribe an asthma nebulizer. It often has a mouthpiece or mask and is typically used for infants, small children, or anyone who has difficulty using inhalers with spacers. The nebulizer changes asthma medications from a liquid to a mist, so that they can be more easily inhaled into the lungs. It takes a few more minutes than using inhalers.
Prednisone To Treat Asthma Attack
If you have a serious asthma attack, your doctor may prescribe a short course of oral corticosteroids. If you used corticosteroids for many months, they can have serious and permanent side effects. After the severe symptoms of your asthma attack have been successfully controlled, your doctor will try to minimize your need for prednisone in the future.
Although asthma is a common disease, it is a serious condition that demands a proper medical diagnosis and treatment. Talk to your doctor for asthma support and find the asthma drugs that work best for you. If you have been diagnosed with asthma but your treatment no longer seems to work, it is time to check in with your doctor again. Likewise, if you’ve been diagnosed with asthma and you have symptoms that require you to use your rescue inhaler too frequently, go see your asthma doctor.