Which Asthma Medications Should I Take?
If you have been told that you have asthma, then you are probably wondering what this means for you. Asthma is a very common condition that may require ongoing and immediate care, and finding the correct asthma treatment is definitely an integral part of that. Asthma is one of the most common childhood diseases that can cause so much discomfort.
The best thing that you can do if you have been diagnosed with asthma is to learn everything that you can about it and how to deal with it so that you can be as healthy as possible. Knowing what the symptoms are and how to treat them will also give you the tools to live a happy and productive life.
There are a number of different things that can cause asthma
- Allergies to pollen
- Dust mites
- Chemicals and others are the biggest causes of asthma among children
Other causes of asthma include
- Irritant fumes
- Developing asthma during pregnancy
- Asthma induced by occupational triggers
There are a number of things that you can do to prevent developing asthma or at least be able to deal with it better should it become serious enough to interfere with your life. Avoiding these potential causes of asthma is the best way to prevent it from developing into something worse.
When your breathing becomes short or you start having chest tightness and feel like you are getting a tight chest, then you may be experiencing an asthma attack. When you first start feeling the symptoms of an attack happening, immediately try to relax your body by taking deep breaths until they normalize.
When they do normalize, take very short breaths. By doing this you will keep your lungs from becoming too congested which will help to clear the airways easier, thus reducing or stopping wheezing, preventing the onset of chest tightness and lessening the chance of developing asthma
However, there isn’t one single “correct” asthma drug. Rather, there are various short term and long term treatments for asthma, which may be chosen depending on your asthma severity and the specific purposes they have to serve.
One of the most effective methods of controlling asthmatic symptoms is through the use of bronchodilators
Bronchodilators are medications that dilate the airways in the lungs and make it easier for air to enter and exit. The action of the bronchodilators relaxes the muscles of the airways thus reducing the force of the air exerted against them. This prevents mucus from building up which further decreases the likelihood of an asthma attack.
Bronchodilators are usually administered orally, although they can also be applied to the skin in a localized form which is referred to as inhalation. Bronchodilators are generally used as the first line of treatment. For some asthma patients, additional medications may be needed to fully control symptoms.
Corticosteroids are the most commonly prescribed drugs
A less popular form of medication for asthma is a corticosteroid that acts by relaxing the bronchial muscles and thus decreasing the amount of mucus secreted. This type of asthma therapy is less effective when treating severe asthma, especially when combined with other forms of medication. Some of the side effects include
- Loss of appetite
For people who suffer from mild asthmatic attacks, the most common side effects are increased coughing and difficulty breathing. They work by reducing inflammation in the airways as well as increasing the effectiveness of the airways’ filters. Although steroids are primarily used for inflammatory conditions, they are also used for other non-inflammatory diseases as well. Corticosteroids however are not always prescribed and are reserved for severe cases only.
Another type of medication used as a first-line treatment for asthma is inhaled corticosteroids
Inhaled corticosteroids, also known as long-acting non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, are the most successful and widely used long term control therapies for asthma. They significantly reduce inflammation and tightness in the airways by preventing the release of histamine. You will typically have to take these steroids for several weeks before you see their maximum effect.
These medications function by reducing inflammation as well as shrinking airways. The majority of inhaled corticosteroids are synthetic although there are several natural forms as well. However, the natural forms have been known to cause significant side effects including
- Loss of appetite
- and in certain cases leads to death
Therefore, before choosing to take this medication it is important to discuss the possible side effects with your physician. Although inhaled corticosteroids are safe, they do carry the possibility of causing adverse side effects as well.
Flovent is another type of commonly prescribed medication for asthma
Flovent is usually prescribed to treat severe allergic symptoms. When inhaled it is used for the long term management of asthma and COPD. In the nose it is used for hay fever and nasal polyps. If you or someone you know has any history of allergies or asthma, you are highly recommended to avoid taking Flovent.
There have been several cases of a serious reaction to this medication including anaphylactic shock and sepsis, or blood poisoning. If your doctor has recommended medication as treatment for your condition, you should also discuss with him or her whether inhaled corticosteroids or oral medications would be better suited for you.
Asthma sufferers who use both kinds of a treatment plan have reported great results. However, if your condition is very severe then it may not be possible to afford both medications. You should therefore discuss this matter with your doctor and determine which option would be best for you.
One of the more effective asthma medications on the market today is theophylline
This is available in generic and brand name form. Generic theophylline has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of asthma in people with mild asthmatic conditions.
However, in some cases, it can cause depression, anxiety and restlessness in patients. Brand name theophylline tends to be more effective in patients with moderate-to-severe asthmatic conditions, although it does not result in the drastic improvements seen in low-quality theophylline products.
Tiotropium is another commonly used medication that has proven to be effective in fighting asthmatic conditions. It is usually prescribed along with other types of medication to prevent the development of severe bronchial inflammation and infection.
However, the exact mechanism involved in how this medication affects the airways and how it prevents inflammation is not completely known. Therefore, it is imperative that you discuss your medications with your doctor to determine their likely effect on your condition.
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