Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways (tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. These airways are inflamed in people with asthma. The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and the tubes often react to allergens or irritations. There is no cure for asthma. But with the proper diagnosis, medication and an asthma management plan, symptoms can be controlled. Asthma symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing–especially early in the morning or at night. In a severe asthma attack, the airways close so much that other vital organs in the body do not get enough oxygen.
There are three basic types of inhaler devices that deliver medications:
The most common is the Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI). This uses a chemical propellant to push the medication out of the inhaler.
Nebulizers deliver fine liquid mists of medication through a tube or a “mask” that fits over the nose and mouth, using air or oxygen under pressure. Nebulizers are frequently used to treat people with asthma who cannot use an inhaler, including infants, young children and very ill people of all ages.
Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) deliver medication without using chemical propellants, but they require a strong and fast inhalation. With inhaled medications, the medicine is delivered directly to your bronchial tubes, helping to open your airways. Also, these medicines have fewer side effects compared to others that are taken by mouth or by injection.
The allergy/immunology specialist will work with you to make the correct diagnosis and after that to find the right medic action and to answer any concern about side effects. As well to develop a personalized asthma action plan.
Most people will need two kinds of medications:
- Quick relief: A) Short acting beta agonists (Albuterol) and B) anticholinergics (phlegm). Both of them open your windpipes, allowing more air in and out. Taken on as needed basis.
- Long term controller. Help to control the inflammation that causes the difficulty for breathing. These are to be taken on daily basis.