Asthma is a chronic condition – this means that it cannot be cured and will require treatment to manage the symptoms. Once under control you can live a moderately normal life
The management of asthma requires some lifestyle changes such as:
- Knowing your triggers and avoiding them as much as possible
- If you are a smoker, try and reduce the number of cigarettes per day or better yet, quit smoking
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Monitor your symptoms to see whether your medication is working
Asthma medication can be divided into two groups.
- THE CONTROLLERS: This drug is a steroid and works on preventing inflammation. Controller medication does not give immediate relief, it is tempting to stop taking them because it takes a long time to work. However, controllers play a vital role in preventing severe asthma attacks and preventing long-term damage to the airways. These must be used every day. An example of a controller is a long-acting beta 2 agonist (Salmeterol and Formoterol).
- THE RELIEVERS: This drug as the name suggests temporarily relieves the symptoms. It does not control the inflammation; it simply relaxes the tiny muscles surrounding the airways, allowing more air to flow through. These are used only when needed. And example of a reliever is a short-acting beta 2 agonist ( Salbutamol or Fenoterol).
Both medication groups are essential in the treatment of asthma. It is important to stress the importance of using these inhalers correctly in order to get the proper dosage of medication. With enough practice, the technique of using an inhaler properly can be mastered.
Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window
References: Wu TD, Brigham EP, McCormack MC. Asthma in the Primary Care Setting. Med Clin North Am. 2019 May;103(3):435-452