A comprehensive approach
Asthma is treated with a comprehensive approach. In the book Reversing Asthma, a number of comprehensive medical treatments are discussed. Those include alternative and traditional medicines, dietary changes, breathing exercises, allergy control, as well as things like meditation. Once a complete treatment plan is put together, you are able to put together a comprehensive approach to treating asthma.
It should be noted that each person responds to each type of treatment differently, especially because there are so many different types of asthma. Asthma treatment for certain groups of people—such as children, pregnant women, or those for whom exercise brings on asthma symptoms—will be adjusted to meet their special needs. When you first begin treatment, you'll see your doctor about every two to six weeks. Once your asthma is controlled, your doctor may want to see you from once a month to twice a year. During these checkups, your doctor may ask whether you've had an asthma attack since the last visit, any changes in symptoms or any peak flow measurements. Your doctor may also ask about your daily activities and if you've noticed any triggers. This information will help your doctor assess your level of asthma control.
Effective treatment of allergic asthma includes identifying and avoiding allergens that trigger symptoms, then using proper drug therapies and developing an emergency action plan for severe attacks. Your allergist may also recommend that you monitor your asthma by using a peak flow meter. This small handheld device allows you to measure how much air you are able to push out through your lungs. If your airflow is low, your allergist may recommend changes to your treatment plan, such as additional behavioral or environmental changes or a different asthma medication. Patients may be reluctant to take medication because of cost or the potential side effects. If you have such concerns, talk with your allergist. He or she will work with you to find the right medicine, or combination of medicines, to manage your asthma and will adjust the dosage based on your symptoms and control.
The goal is to have you feel your best with the least amount of medicine. The medication that will prescribed will likely be a bronchodilator, meaning it expands the passageways into the lungs (the bronchi), allowing more air to pass through therefore improving breathing. The medication also helps to clear mucus from the lungs by enabling the mucus to move more freely and get coughed out more easily.
If you have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), also known as exercise-induced asthma, your allergist may recommend that you use your medicines before exercise or other strenuous physical activity. Quick-relief medicines can stop asthma symptoms, but they do not control the airway inflammation that causes the symptoms. If you find that you need your quick-relief medicine to treat asthma symptoms more than twice a week, or two or more nights a month, then your asthma is not well-controlled. On the other hand, if your asthma is well-controlled for several months, your doctor may decrease your medicine. These adjustments to your medicine will help you maintain the best control possible with the least amount of medicine necessary.
Be sure to monitor your asthma and take note of triggers like specific allergens or physical activities. Keep in discussion with your doctor regarding your observations so you can work together to manage your condition.