There is no cure for asthma. Aim of management is to achieve control of the disease. This includes the following:
- Prevent chronic and recurrent symptoms like nocturnal coughing
- Reduce the use of medications
- Maintenance of lung function
- Maintenance of regular activities
- Preventing severe asthmatic attacks requiring hospital stays or visits to the Emergency Room
Practical tips to control asthma:
- Control other conditions that can aggravate asthma
- Avoid known allergens
- Maintain an active lifestyle
- Have an action plan in the event of asthma attacks
The asthma action plan should include the medications regime, avoidance of triggers, tracking of asthma attacks, and actions to be taken if asthmatic symptoms become more severe despite treatment. Eg When to proceed to the Hospital Emergency Department for treatment
Medications for Asthma
Asthmatic medications can be broadly divided into medications that exert long term control and medications that provide rapid relief from asthmatic symptoms.
Both types of medications aim at reducing airway inflammation to control asthma.
Initial treatment depends on how severe your asthma is. Follow up treatment depends on how well the patient follows the asthma action plan and how effective the action plan is.
Note though that the asthma action plan will vary with changes in your lifestyle and social environment because different social exposures result in exposure to different allergens in your environment.
Adjustment of medication dosage should be at the discretion of your primary physician. If you have adjusted the dose of medication on your own, you should let your primary physician know immediately to facilitate proper titration of medication dosing with each visit to the doctor.
The doctor will always aim to use the least amount of medicine necessary to achieve control of your asthma so it is imperative that the doctor be made aware of how much medications you have been using.
Certain groups of patients require more intensive titration regimes – these include pregnant women, young children, or patients with special needs.