Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma

Asthma cannot be cured, but if managed properly, you can lead a normal life without being limited by your condition. In order to keep your asthma under control, it is important to understand the types of treatment available.

Controller Medication

Has anti-inflammatory properties and works on the thin membrane lining the inside of the airways (breathing tubes). It is designed to prevent this lining from becoming inflamed, swollen and full of mucous. It does not give immediate relief, however, when used every day over prolonged periods of time, it controls the redness, swelling and mucous production on the inside of the airways. When asthma is under control, the airways are clear and air flows easily in and out. When asthma is not under control, the walls of the airways in the lungs are always thick and swollen. An asthma attack can happen easily.

Controller medication are also referred to as preventive medicine. It protects the lungs and keep asthma attacks from starting. Controllers contain a low dose of an inhaled corticosteroid. These medicines are extremely safe as only very small amounts are absorbed from the lung. Controller medicine are sometimes increased when your asthma symptoms get worse. Your doctor will inform you if your controller medication can be adjusted in this way.

Reliever Medication

Gives quick relief for a short period of time (4 – 6 hours). Relievers cause constricted airways to open up by relaxing these smooth muscles. Relievers only work on the smooth muscles and not on the membranes lining the inside of these airways. This type of medication relieves your asthma symptoms, but they do nothing to reverse the inflammation (swelling) in your airways that is causing the increased symptoms.

If a person with asthma finds that they need their reliever medication more than two or three times per week for asthma symptoms, it may be a sign that their asthma control is not optimum. They should seek the advice of their doctor or asthma nurse in order to improve control. Be prepared, always have carry your reliever with you when you leave home.

Types of Asthma Medications

Inhalers

Tablets

Syrups

Nebulisers

Injections
(for very severe asthma)

Asthma Management Tips

Take your asthma medication as prescribed

Avoid triggers where possible

Visit your doctor regularly

Get regular exercise

Pay attention to signs and symptoms

Speak to your doctor about the best treatment for you. He or she will advise on ways to manage your asthma including how and when to take your medication.