Asthma is a relatively common condition which creates difficulty breathing. Often related to allergies, asthma can be treated using several options. Silver Falls Dermatology providers offer a range of asthma treatment options for patients.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition in which the airways narrow or swell and excess mucus is produced. This results in difficulty breathing and related symptoms. Asthma symptoms can range from a minor nuisance to a significant medical problem. Often, the condition is related to allergies. Asthma may also be limited to certain situations. Examples include:
- Exercise-induced asthma
- Allergy-induced asthma
- Occupational asthma, which is triggered by irritants in your workplace
What Causes Asthma?
Asthma is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Those with a family history of asthma are at a higher risk of experiencing the condition. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by a range of irritants or activities including:
- Airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mold or animal dander
- Physical activity or exercise
- Respiratory infections
- Cold weather
- Pollutants or airborne irritants such as smoke
- Emotional distress
- Sulfites or other preservatives in food and beverages
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Medications including aspirin, anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium or beta blockers
Asthma symptoms can vary for each patient. Asthma attacks may be infrequent, though some patients may experience symptoms at all times. Common asthma symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness and pain
- Difficulty sleeping due to other symptoms
Asthma Treatment Options
When treating asthma, your provider will focus on prevention and long-term symptom control as well as methods of treating asthma attacks. Most patients will require a bronchodilator, or quick-relief inhaler, which can be used to rapidly open swollen airways. Allergy medications can also be used to help prevent symptoms.
For some patients, long-term asthma control medications can be beneficial. These are typically taken on a daily basis to help control symptoms. Options include:
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Leukotriene modifiers
- Combination inhalers
Rescue medications may also be recommended for rapid relief in the case of an asthma attack. Some patients will also be instructed to use these medications prior to exercise. Some examples include:
- Short-acting beta agonist inhalers (such as albuterol or levalbuterol)
- Anticholinergic agents
- Oral or IV corticosteroids