Asthma is a disease of the airways, or branches of the lungs (bronchial tubes), that carry air in and out of the lungs. Asthma makes breathing difficult and causes a feeling of not getting enough air into the lungs. The changes that occur in the airways (bronchi) during an asthma attack include:
Common asthma triggers:
The usual starting point is to visit your doctor for a medical history and physical examination.
Tests may be done to check the general condition of the lungs. Tests may include:
These medications relax the muscles that tighten around the airway. Most of the medications are delivered by metered dose inhaler (MDI). Some are available by aerosol treatment and a few are available in oral form. In general, they are used to relieve or stop asthma symptoms and are very helpful during an asthma episode.
Bronchodilators used for treatment of asthma symptoms include:
Bronchodilators used to prevent symptoms of asthma include:
Anti-inflammatory medications are generally used to control asthma symptoms and make the airways stable. These medications are available as MDIs, DPI (dry powder inhalers) or in oral form. These medications include:
In patients who have allergic asthma that is moderate to severe in nature, the medication omalizumab may be used. This medication prevents allergens from attaching to a natural substance in the body called IgE. This prevents the allergic reaction (which causes inflammation) and can prevent asthma attacks in some patients. This medication is administered in an asthma specialist’s office and is in injection form.
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the lungs that can be effectively treated and controlled despite the fact that there is no cure. Proper control of asthma allows for a full and active life without limitations.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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