First, you need to understand what asthma is as well as its symptoms. Asthma is a chronic disease that when it is not controlled can make it difficult to breathe. When an asthma attack happens, you may experience coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or breathlessness. A person may find it difficult to breathe as a result of the narrowing of the airways caused by swelling, mucus production, and the tightening of the muscles around the airways.
Although many people have asthma, it can mean very different things from person to person. You may experience mild or moderate symptoms daily or weekly. Your doctor will consider these factors when deciding which treatment options are most suitable for your care.
The goal of asthma treatment is to control the disease and to prevent symptoms from interfering with your day-to-day activities. Your doctor determines control of your asthma by the following:
- How often you experience daytime and nighttime symptoms.
- How often you use your rescue inhaler.
- How often you have to go to the doctor for treatment of your symptoms.
- How much your symptoms interfere with your daily life.
Individuals with poor control of their asthma are usually put on controller medications to manage their condition. Controller medications are to be taken every day to prevent symptoms from occurring and to decrease the severity of symptoms when they do occur.
Controller medications should be used long-term, whether you feel bad or good on a daily basis, as prescribed. Consistency is very important when taking these medications. Another form of treatment your doctor may prescribe is prescribing a rescue medication. These are to be used on a short-term basis to help you feel better quickly when experiencing coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing. Here are a few examples of each type of medication.
Check out American Lung Association’s guide on how to use your inhaler:
With a spacer:
Without a spacer:
When taken as directed, these medications can significantly decrease the burden of asthma on your daily life. Do not hesitate to go to a doctor if home medications are not providing relief.
In addition to taking your medication, it is important to know your asthma triggers and be able to identify symptoms early.
Talk to your doctor about your Asthma Action Plan and ways to better take control of your asthma. To schedule an appointment with the Family Medicine Department at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call, 718-206-6942
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.