A Life with Asthma
Life has been a struggle for Karen ever since she was a little girl. She was very allergic to dust mites, pollen coming from trees, and other allergens that seemed to surround her everywhere she went. Growing up did not only mean getting braces for her teeth, growing her hair long, or moving up several sizes. It also meant the daily battle with her own immune system that over-reacted to almost anything microscopic. He body’s anti-allergic response included the secretion of above-normal amounts of fluid in her nostrils and mucus inside her chest. The moment she gets an allergic reaction, her chest would suddenly feel as if a block of cement had been hurled at her. He difficulty of breathing was so severe that should would almost turn blue from lack of oxygen. For most of her childhood and teenage years, she felt miserable about the repeated asthma attacks that almost always happened in public. The difficulty of having asthma was made worse by the embarrassment she had to endure whenever she desperately gasped for air in front of people.
Like Karen, millions of people around the world suffer from asthma. In the United States alone, about 20 million people have been diagnosed with this chronic disease. Of this number of asthma sufferers, nearly nine million are children. An asthma attack affects and produces a constriction of the airways. The airways are the tubes through which air flows in and out of our lungs. The inside walls of these airways are become swollen during an asthma attack. The inflammation of the airways is actually an allergic reaction to microscopic particles Once the inflammation occurs, an asthma sufferer may produce wheezing sounds or may experience excessive coughing.
To date, there is still no cure for asthma but it can be prevented or its symptoms can be managed. One simple way to help prevent asthma is to prevent pollutants and other allergens from proliferating in your home or work environment. Hygiene at home and at the office can help control the spread of viruses and bacteria that may also trigger allergies and other more serious ailments. While there are varying degrees of severity of asthma attacks and sensitivity to “triggering elements”, keeping the surroundings as allergen-free as possible would benefit all asthmatics.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs To The Rescue
Aside from environmental sanitation, another option to control asthma and its debilitating symptoms is the use of medications. Anti inflammatory drugs are now prescribed for patients who need immediate help in controlling asthma. These anti inflammatory drugs help reduce the swelling of swelling of air passageways and, as a result, prevent wheezing and coughing.
The main types of anti-inflammatory drugs are:
1. Inhaled corticosteroids – Considered as one of the most effective medications to reduce airway inflammation. This drug helps reduces the need for hospitalization and provides better asthma control.
2. Mast cell stabilizers – It works by preventing the release of irritating and inflammatory substances from immune cells called mast cells.
3. Dry powder inhaler – A medication in the form of a dry powder that is administered through a small device called a dry powder inhaler or DPI. This inhaler delivers the medication to the lungs as you inhale through the device. It does not contain propellants and it can be used by young asthmatics starting at age five and up.
4. Nebulizer – This is a device used to administer medication in the form of liquid mist to the air ways. Also known as “atomizers”, the nebulizer is used to pumps air or liquid medicine in vapor form. By inhaling the medicine through the nebulizer, an asthmatic is able to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Managing your Asthma
To help a patient manage the symptoms of this condition, doctors usually use a tool called Spirometry to diagnose asthma. The tool is also used to evaluate the pulmonary functions of a patient. It also helps the doctor obtain valuable information about the lung condition of an asthma patient. Optimal medication, continuation of normal activities, and the reduction of trips to the hospital are only some of the goals that every doctor want to achieve in treating an asthma patient. Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may opt to prescribe anti inflammatory drugs that would prevent attacks that constrict a patient’s breathing.
Asthma is a very uncomfortable condition to deal with, especially on a daily basis. But it should not rob someone out of the joys and happiness of life. Even asthmatics can live relatively normal lives. Through proper medication and allergen management, asthmatics can pursue active, fulfilling lives.