Asthma can be one of the most frightening and potentially dangerous, primarily because asthma attack triggers a sense of panic and helplessness.
When an asthma attack occurs, the air passes in the lungs constrict, and there is much less room available for air to move in and out of your body. You end up gasping and wheezing, struggling for that breath of air that will end the attack. People have died from prolonged, unstoppable asthma attacks.
Prevention and Control is Key
You should be ready to prevent asthma before it starts. You do that by avoiding triggers – smoke, cold wind, dust and pollens, animal hair – you'll soon learn which set you off. Just stay out of their way.
Get a peak flow meter
This is a small, inexpensive device for measuring breathing that can be used anywhere – at your job, on a bus, in a shopping mall. It fits in a purse or briefcase. The device will measure your lung capacity. That's important because lung function decreases before symptoms of an attack – so the meter is an early warning sign of an attack.
Using a peak flow meter gives the patient information to share with the physician, so both make decisions about the treatment plan.
You and your doctor should develop a written action plan to guide your overall asthma attack plan. This plan should spill out which medicines to take and when, when a doctor is a must, and so forth.
Asthma is worsened by your stress. It's a vicious circle – you feel an attack coming on, you get upset, the asthma gets worse, you get more upset, and you're soon off to asthma hell. Being prepared will help you be calm because you will know that your defenses are ready when you need them.
What you do to your body everyday affects your expectations to suffer an asthma attack. Get enough rest, eat properly, drink plenty of liquids, and exercise regularly.
Here are the primary medicines for asthma:
1. Corticosteroids: These act directly to reduce the inflammatory response of the airways. They come as pills and in inhalers. They work great, but can have side effects if used too frequently.
2. Anti-allergy drugs: Cromolyn sodium is the most common. It's used to prevent episodes, but does not work after an episode starts. It's best as a preventive, but it does not work for everyone.
1. Adrenergic bronchodilators are drugs that relax the muscles of the airways and open them up. Usually, you suck them into your lungs with an inhaler. These come in pill form as well, but pills work more slowly.
Doctors say these kind of inhalers are dangerous, however, if relied on too often. Also, they do not work on the undering inflammation that causes asthma, and can produce side-effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and heart rhythm abnormalities.
An alternative to the all of the above:
For some allergic people who can not control their asthma symptoms with environmental changes and medication, immunotherapy, or allergy desensitization shots, may be your bets alternative. Allergies to dust mites, pollen, and cats seem to be the allergies most successfully treated with immunotherapy.