Are you trying to “just live with it”?
When properly diagnosed and managed, when asthma triggers are identified and addressed and the right medication is used, a patient with asthma should expect full control and prevention of symptoms. On the other hand, untreated or under-treated asthma not only disrupts normal activities but can result in emergency room visits, hospitalizations and… even death.
What is asthma? Is there a cure?
When asthma is activated, the bronchial passages become inflamed and swollen. The over production of mucus and bronchial spasm further narrow and constrict these passages. The results are inevitable shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and cough. The advances in understanding and treatment of asthma have been profound over the past 10 years and progress will continue. We now believe that all asthma can be completely controlled, flare-ups prevented and, for some patients,… cure is possible.
What causes asthma?
Asthma triggers include allergies, viruses, cigarette smoke and environmental irritants. But we know many patients have chronic asthma even when not exposed to these triggers. Part of the explanation – asthma patients are burdened with a respiratory immune system that over-reacts, even to minor irritants that would not bother the average person. Once the inflammation response starts, it can persist even after the exposure to the trigger has ended. We use the term OARIS, which stands for Over Active Respiratory Immune Syndrome.
Research has shown asthma is not the same for everybody. For certain groups of asthma patients, the underlying immune processes are quite different. For example, “childhood asthma” is quite different from “adult onset asthma.” There is exciting progress being made in identifying other “hidden asthma triggers.”
Treatment of Asthma
There are two categories of inhalers. “Rescue inhalers” give quick relief by relaxing and opening bronchial passages but do not de-activate the excess inflammation. “Maintenance inhalers” do not provide quick relief but contribute to control and prevention by reducing excess bronchial inflammation.
Research has shown us that different groups of asthma require different management and treatment. We recognize the need to approach and treat based on the particular asthma category. Childhood onset asthma is treated differently than adult onset asthma. The goals of treatment are the same for everyone – full control of asthma symptoms and prevention of flare-ups by identifying and avoiding asthma triggers.
Some of our guiding principles for asthma are:
- Teach patients to “listen to their body,” recognize flare-ups easily, and treat promptly.
- For patients with a “mucus build up” component, we teach special techniques to recognize and clear excess bronchial mucus.
- Teach techniques to avoid colds and other asthma triggers.
Aim high! Complete asthma control will give you confidence, security and a life free of steroids and antibiotics.