If you have asthma, there are many different solutions that you can use to manage your condition. Asthma can’t be cured, but it can be controlled and treated. It is important to create a treatment plan that works for your asthma.
Types of Asthma Medication and Treatment
There are four primary categories of asthma medication and treatment that you can use:
Quick-relief medicines: These medicines work quickly to relieve sudden systems. You take them at the first sign of asthma symptoms for them to work as effectively as possible.
Controlled medicines: A controlled medicine is used to help control asthma by reducing swelling in the airways and reducing excess mucus.
Combination medication: Many times, combination medications are used to treat asthma to provide short- and long-term relief.
Biologics: This treatment uses either a cell or protein to stop swelling in the airways. It is usually given as an IV infusion or injection.
Types of Delivery Devices for Asthma Treatment
Most asthma medications are delivered by breathing in the medication via an inhaler or nebulizer. This allows the medication to be delivered directly to your lungs. However, asthma medications can also be administered as infusions, injectables, and pills.
Inhalers, also called puffers, deliver medication straight to your lungs. Various types of inhalers can be used to deliver your asthma medication.
Soft mist inhaler: This sprays medicine out of the inhaler, creating a soft mist that is softly sprayed out for you to breathe in.
Breath actuated inhaler: This inhaler uses aerosol medicine or dry powder. The medicine doesn’t spray out of the inhaler; instead, it releases the medicine from the inhaler as you breathe it in.
Metered dose inhalers: This type of inhaler has a propellant that sprays the medicine out of the inhaler in short bursts. It is the type of inhaler most people associate with asthma medication.
Dry powder inhalers: The medication is released from the inhaler, and you breathe it in. It doesn’t have a propellant or a spray.
It is important to use inhalers correctly. Most people make at least one mistake when using their inhalers, which is why it is essential to learn how to use your inhaler correctly.
At West Hills Allergy & Asthma Associates, we may ask you to use your inhaler during your consultation so we can evaluate your technique and provide you with guidance on how to use it correctly.
A nebulizer is also known as a breathing machine. It takes liquid asthma medicine and turns it into a mist you breathe in through a mouthpiece or mask.
Some people find nebulizers easier to use than asthma inhalers. Once you set up a nebulizer, it is easy to use. They come in tabletop and portable models.
There are three types of nebulizers:
Mesh: This type of nebulizer allows the liquid to pass through a fine mesh to form the aerosol you breathe in. It creates very small particles for you to breathe in.
Ultrasonic: This nebulizer takes liquid medication and uses high-frequency vibrations to create an aerosol. It creates medium-sized particles for you to breathe in.
Jet: A jet nebulizer uses compressed gas to create an aerosol.
With all three types of nebulizers listed above, you can breathe through a mouthpiece or a mask. Facemasks are commonly used for children under five because they tend to breathe more through their noses than their mouths.
Another type of asthma treatment is injectables or biologics. These are given every few weeks as shots or IV infusions.
The shots can be administered in a doctor’s office, or you can be provided with an auto-injector device to give yourself shots at home.
Infusions have to be given directly at our office. A needle is attached to a tube and injected into a vein in your arm. The medication goes directly into your bloodstream.
Biologics target a cell or protein in your body to prevent airway swelling. They are used for specific types of asthma and don’t work for everyone. Biologics are specifically designed to treat moderate-to-severe asthma that is hard to treat with other medications.
Bronchodilators can be both short and quick-relief medications. Many different types of bronchodilator medications can be used to control your asthma.
Short-acting muscarinic antagonists (SAMA) are designed to be taken at the first sign of symptoms and can be taken with a short-acting beta agonist. It keeps your airways open for four to six hours.
Short-acting beta agonists (SABA) are also a fast-acting medication that should be taken as soon as you experience asthma symptoms. It will keep your airways open for four to six hours.
Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA) are considered a controlled medication. They are taken daily and keep your airways open for 12 to 24 hours. They are not designed to relieve sudden symptoms but to provide long-term asthma control.
Long-acting beta agonists (LABA) are considered a controlled medication. They are combined with an inhaled corticosteroid and can keep your airways open for up to 12 hours.
Theophylline is a controlled medication taken daily and comes in many forms, such as a syrup, capsule, or tablet.
Anti-inflammatories, also known as steroids, come in many different forms. Their focus is on reducing swelling and the build-up of extra mucus inside your airways.
Anti-inflammatories are not made to treat sudden symptoms or attacks. They are a controlled medication designed to control and prevent asthma symptoms. There are two primary types of anti-inflammatories:
Oral corticosteroids: These are taken in pill or liquid form. It is a long-term therapy treatment option for people who have severe asthma. It can have serious side effects, including mood swings, high blood pressure, weight gain, cataracts, and osteoporosis.
Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS): Inhaled corticosteroids are made to work with the natural corticosteroids released by your adrenal glands. It is designed to be taken daily or as needed. It works for 12 to 24 hours.
Treating Your Asthma
Medication is one tool to treat your asthma. However, the medications that work for you may change over time. Asthma is a chronic condition and requires continued care. If you have nighttime asthma, medication can help you sleep better.
It is important to learn about your triggers and figure out how to avoid them.
You may also need to take steps to improve the air quality of your home to reduce your exposure to triggers. Better air quality in your home can lead to better sleep and overall health.
Asthma Solutions in Portland
Call West Hills Allergy & Asthma Associates for all your asthma concerns. Getting started is simple! Let our friendly staff and board-certified physicians care for you and your family.
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