It is not always easy to understand or know what is best to use with all the new asthma treatments now on the market. It is important that you know it is a variable disease which basically means the symptoms and affects can vary from one person to the next. As a variable illness it also means that the treatment plans and medications must be geared to your symptoms and any other medical problems you may have. Asthma can be controlled but if not taken seriously or treated properly it can rapidly turn into a life threatening situation.
Once you are diagnosed as having asthma a consultation with your family doctor should include him explaining to you how you will be affected by asthma and what you can do to keep your asthma under control. He will discuss your triggers or what induces your asthma attacks and how you can avoid these triggers. He will also prescribe the necessary medications to help control not only short term symptoms of attack but also longer acting ones that may lessen the frequency of your asthma symptoms occurring. After this initial consultation you should make future appointments on a regular basis to make sure that your symptoms, are monitored and that your doctor is aware of any changes so medications can be changed if necessary.
There are two kinds of medications used in the treatment of asthmatics. Controllers or as they are also called preventers are long term medications that reduce the inflammation of the airways over a period of time and are taken on a daily basis. The longer you rake these the symptoms will decrease more and more and eventually the goal is in time you will be symptom free. However this is not an indicator to stop taking this treatment for the inflammation in the airways could rapidly return and the process would have to be repeated again. The second common medication used in the treatment of asthma symptoms are known as relievers and are more direct and fast working. Puffers and inhalers are the normal delivery methods of relievers and are used to mainly restore breathing and reduce coughing and wheezing. These should be monitored and the patient should know that this is only a short time solution and although the outright symptoms may lesson there could be underlying inflammation that needs more attention from your doctor. If you are using your relievers frequently it could be a sign your asthma is getting more severe and another visit to the doctor is in order.
Another part of treating asthma is to develop with your doctor’s help and advice an asthma action plan. This action plan usually consists of three distinct phases of asthma, the symptoms of each phase and the action required to treat the phase if necessary. Phase one or the green phase is when you have your asthma in full control no or very minimal symptoms and are taking medications regularly as prescribed by your doctor. The Yellow Zone is when you are not in complete control and may be experiencing some symptoms. In this zone your doctor should be consulted and your controller medications may need to be adjusted somewhat. Red Zone which means your asthma is out of control or poorly controlled and you are probably in need of emergency medical attention.
There are also special considerations that should be understood in certain types of asthma such as exercise induced asthma and children’s or infant’s asthma. Your family doctor can also help you on both learning more about these types of asthma as well as finding the best medications for your individual requirements.