Before looking at the asthma treatment guidelines I believe I should write down a few words on what exactly asthma is, what causes it and what are the symptoms. I'll try to keep it short.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes a persons airways to swollen. This makes it harder for air to reach and leave the lungs. It is believed that the factors that might be causing this disease are:
- airway hiperreactivity
- exposure to cigarette smoke
- environmental factors like pollution, cold climate or high levels of humidity
- undergoing a respiratory infection as a child
- and being born with a Caesarean Section
The symptoms of asthma are wheezing, chronic cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
After some general information on asthma its time to get on to the treatment guidelines.
Basically there are 2 types of asthma treatment- long term control medications and quick relief medications.
The quick relief medications are used to stop the symptoms during an asthma attack. It can also be used, if your doctor recommends, before exercising. There are 3 popular medications of this type.
- Anticholinergics- like other bronchodilators, it is used to acute bronchospasm by relaxing the airways. It can also decrease the mucus gland secretion and reduce the intrinsic vagal tone to the airways. A known side effect is mouth dryness. It is often used as an alternative to the beta2-agonists. A good anticholinegic is Atrovent.
- Beta2-agonists- a very quick acting inhaled medication used to relax the bronchial smooth muscle and to increase in cyclic AMP producting functional antagonism of bronchocontriction, thus fighting the asthma symptoms in a rapid manner. A few of the known side effects include high blood sugar, shakiness, hypokalemia, increased lactic acid, increased heart rate and headache. Some of the popular beta2- agonists are Albuterol, Ventolin, Maxair, Xopenex and Proventil.
- Oral and intravenous corticosteroids- Due to the serious side effects this type of medication should be used short term. It acts by reducing airway sensitivity and by blocking late reaction to allergen. It is recommended that the corticosteroids are not used for more than 10 days. The possible side effects are increased appetite, fluid retention, weight gain, mood alteration, hypertension,reversible changes in sugar metabolism, peptic ulcer, and rarely aseptic necrosis of femur.
The quick relief medications are effective in fighting asthma attacks and flare-ups but they cannot be relied on for a long term control on the symptoms. That's why long term control medications are a so important and are often called the cornerstone of asthma treatment. Instead of just fighting an attack when it occurs, these medications prevent it on a day by day basis. The most common are:
- Inhaled croticosteroids- they are the most commonly prescribed and effective long term asthma medications. They have an anti-inflammatory effect and unlike the oral corticosteroids the risk of side effects is very small, which makes them safe for a long term use. Popular inhaled corticosteroids are Aerobid, Alvesco, Asmanex, Azmacort, Flovent, Pulmicort and Qvar.
- Long acting beta agonists- this inhaled medication is known to open the airways and reduce the inflammation, however it is also known to cause severe asthma attacks and for that reason its recommended that it is taken in a combination with an inhaled corticosteroid. Long acting beta agonists are Serevent, Brovana, Foradil, Perforomist.
- Leukotriene modifiers- first of all its important to know that these medications are linked to agitation, aggression, hallucinations, depression and suicidal thinking! Otherwise they are used to prevent asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours. Leukotriene modifiers are Accolate, Zyflo and Singulair.
- Combination inhalers- Most commonly these medications include a long acting beta agonist and corticosteroids. They work by widening the airways ( the LABA's effect) and by decreasing and preventing airway inflammation. These medications are very convenient, but are also linked with severe asthma attacks. Some combination inhalers are Advair, Symbicort.
There is also a third, not so popular way to treat asthma. Its called homeopathy.
Homeopathy is a way of treating certain conditions by using small doses of remedies found in nature. The difference between homeopathy and herbal medicine is that homeopathy uses not only herbs but also minerals and other natural substances. Any mineral, plant or animal substance can be used as a remedy. The substance is diluted in liquid repeatedly. It may sound a bit... unusual but these very small amounts of remedies can act very strongly when used properly. Also, this dilution makes the remedies extremely safe.
Homeopathic treatment is the only system of medicine that actually tries to cure asthma instead of just controlling the symptoms. There are several substances that have a positive impact on any type of asthma:
- Kali carbonicum
- Arsenicum album
- Blatta orientalis
- and others
A homeopathic asthma treatment I recommend is Asthmamist. Its an all natural spray that contains all of the above ingredients and many more. You take two sprays under your tongue three times a day. Asthmamist is FDA approved and is also recorded in the Homeopathic Materia Medica. Also one more thing that I find impressive is that the company behind it is so confident in their product they offer a 90 day money back guarantee.
For more information on Asthmamist go to www.asthmamist.com
I believe I introduced you to the most important guidelines of asthma treatment and I hope this article will be satisfying. Please if you have any questions leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thanks for reading, and have a great day!