What you can do about a condition that defies a cure but is manageable
Asthma has somehow evaded the most probing research ever conducted, and still defies a permanent cure. What we can do is manage its symptoms as efficiently as possible and prevent the condition from ruining our lives.
Objectives of Treatment
- Control coughing and prevent breathlessness from becoming a life-threatening event.
- Keep the lungs functioning optimally, reducing damage where possible.
- Help you sleep better and feel rested enough to work and play as normal people do.
- Minimize the need for hospitalization and advanced medical care.
The Three Stages
- Finding out what activates asthma, and then going all out to avoid those triggers.
- Closely cooperating with your physician to manage the symptoms and other treatments you may be experiencing.
- Being faithful to the asthma action plan the physician lays down for you, which enables you to resume your normal life.
It goes without saying that one must remain physically active as this keeps the lungs fit and strong, improves circulation, and reduces the side effects of medication.
The Core of Your Treatment Plan
Considering that asthma is a lifelong condition, the doctor will prescribe two medicines:
- Long duration medicines (corticosteroids and cromolyn) that keep the lung air passages free of phlegm and inflammation
- Quick-acting medicines (short-acting beta-agonist) that alleviates symptoms efficiently before they create life-threatening situations.
A doctor will judge the severity of the condition before creating an asthma action plan customized to your needs. This will involve periodic assessments of the body’s response to medication. How efficiently are you controlling asthma? Is the situation deteriorating? Do you require emergency treatment? These are a few of the questions that will need to be answered.
The assessment of improvement or deterioration of lung functioning is the core of any asthma treatment program:
- Medicine will be administered in higher doses if health declines
- Medicines will be reduced proportionally over a longer duration if your lungs appear stronger and you exhibit better control over your asthma.
Regardless of the medication or asthma treatment plan that you follow, it makes a huge difference to the outcome if you consciously avoid asthma triggers.
- If smoking actively or simply inhaling somebody else’s smoke is worsening your asthma, you need to give up the habit and chose areas that are declared smoke-free.
- If your asthma follows a seasonal variation, you need to adopt safeguards when you move outdoors in changing weather.
- If noxious fumes, dangerous chemicals, and radioactive waves are a part of your working (industrial) atmosphere, it may require you to change your vocation to something safer.
- If participation in sports is professionally important to you but induces asthma, you need to follow a specialized asthma care routine.
Specialized Treatments For Chronic Problems
The allergist and the immunologist are two specialists that are adept at identifying and treating allergic conditions. Allergy shots can help you combat the violent responses the body can have to allergens. It may not cure the underlying problem, but it will alleviate the symptoms.
Genetically Transmitted Conditions
Skin conditions like eczema and nasal congestions brought on by rhinitis, for example, can be inherited through the generations. These are more difficult to treat and need specialized care over a longer time period.
Stress and Sleeplessness
Though the mechanism of action is yet to be analyzed, it is widely accepted that stress does trigger asthma, and the symptoms may also take the form of disorders like sleep apnea. The fairly obvious solution is to lead a life that is free of anxiety and in following practices like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga which effectively relieve the symptoms.