Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that is not curable but very controllable. Current asthma treatment is varied depending upon the severity of the condition and the living conditions of the sufferer. For instance if the asthmatic is allergic to dust mites but the carpet and draperies cant be removed then controlling drugs must be stronger than if all preventative measures can be taken.
Current asthma treatment of mild persistent asthma has had the most flexibility in the treatment options open to the asthma sufferer. In two new studies the researchers found that sufferers may benefit from inhaled corticosteroids and a bronchodilator twice daily as opposed to steroids taken in pill form.
When corticosteroids are taken in pill form the medication becomes systemic, or rather it affects the whole body, as opposed to just the lungs when administered by an inhaler. Although some of the steroids are metabolized systemically when it is taken by an inhaler the amount is significantly less and many people show little to none of the steroid side effects.
Current asthma treatment includes inhaled corticosteroids as the mainstay of anti-inflammatory therapy. This is good news for asthmatics since long term use of corticosteroids has been linked with other severe side effects. Patients who have been taking corticosteroids for long term have a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea, kidney and liver disorders, and decreased ability to fight infection.
Sufferers with mild persistent asthma can back their medications down to the least needed to support their body without rescue medications daily while using daily inhaled corticosteroids that have minimal systemic affects. In one study released from the American Lung Association 500 people who used the inhaled treatment regimen had a 20% failure rate (needed urgent medical attention) vs. medications such as Singulair, which had a 30% failure rate.
Another current asthma treatment is the use of anti-leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are substances in the body that have been shown to be prominent in many inflammatory conditions. They cause bronchocontriction. Anti-leukotrienes have shown to have a positive effect on control of asthma once the current episode has subsided and the sufferer is no longer using corticosteroids. Studies show that using anti-leukotrienes with corticosteroids does not decrease the time used of the steroids.
Many people with asthma will try to down play their symptoms and they often become very tolerant of the limited physical activity they experience. Doctors will often use history as well as peak flow values to assess the effect of the current asthma treatment.
Questions they may ask include:
How often do you use a rescue inhaler?
How often do you awaken at night coughing?
Are your physical activities limited because of breathing issues?
How much have you been out of work/school with chest problems?
How many times admitted into the hospital in the past 12 months?
How many times you have taken oral steroids?
What are the peak flow values – do you graph them?
Asthma sufferers who require a rescue inhaler for actual problems, and not as a preventative prior to exercise, more than 3 times per week can probably be managed better.
Asthma sufferers are not always compliant with the medication regimens of current asthma treatments (including parents for their children) because they don’t fully understand the medications, uses and side effects nor appreciate the side effects of even mild asthma left untreated. It is essential that the sufferer address their concerns with their doctor or nurse practitioner so they are fully aware of the need for regular medication, that it isn’t habit forming and that without the medication the sufferer can experience dire consequences.
Current asthma treatment includes medication, a written asthma management plan, preventative measures and education so that the asthma sufferer and their family are fully aware of the asthma signs and symptoms and are able to react appropriately.
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