Approximately 25 million Americans, including children and adults, need asthma relief. This number is steadily increasing among people of all age groups. As such, asthma is one of the most common and costly health conditions in the United States.
The medical field has yet to find a permanent cure for the respiratory health condition, but there are different ways that help prevent or alleviate asthma attacks. These include long-term control medication to manage the condition and quick-relief medication to alleviate symptoms. Find the right balance between these two, and you will have an easier time keeping the condition at bay and treating attacks.
Long-Term Control Medication for Management
People with asthma experience swelling of the airways when they encounter allergens and irritants. This swelling may lead to wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. As much as medical doctors want to provide a permanent solution to this respiratory condition, however, such a thing does not yet exist. For now, doctors may recommend long-term control medication for asthma management.
Long-term control medication may depend on each patient’s compatibility with the prescription drugs. For this reason, doctors offer a wide variety of possible medications including the following:
- Corticosteroids: anti-inflammatory prescription drugs that reduce airway swelling
- Leukotriene Modifiers: blockers of the effects of asthma symptoms-causing leukotriene
- Long-Acting Beta-Agonists: bronchodilator medications that open the airways
- Theophylline: bronchodilator pill that relaxes the airways for mild asthma relief
- Combination Inhalers: a combination of corticosteroids and a bronchodilator
Each of these long-term control medications serves a specific purpose. For example, corticosteroids may be the most commonly used medication by patients with asthma, but leukotriene modifiers may be more suitable for patients triggered specifically by inflammatory molecules called leukotrienes.
Furthermore, doctors prescribe medication depending on the level of a person’s asthma. Long-acting beta-agonists are suitable for moderate to severe asthma conditions, for instance, while theophylline treats mild asthma.
Consult your doctor before trying any of these long-term control medications. They will look for the most suitable way for you to manage asthma.
Over-the-Counter Medication for Effective Asthma Relief
You may be diligent with your long-term control medication, but sometimes, you cannot avoid external or environmental factors that trigger asthma. For this reason, you must be ready with another type of medication that can instantly alleviate sudden asthma attacks: over-the-counter medication.
To reduce asthma attacks, you need to discuss a suitable long-term prescription medication with your doctor. Alternatively, to alleviate short-term symptoms such as wheezing attacks, you may opt for over-the-counter medication. This is a type of quick-relief treatment that instantly relaxes your airways so that you can breathe easier during an asthma attack.
You may also refer to asthma medications that you can buy over the counter as rescue medications. Their effects, which include easing the symptoms of the respiratory health condition and alleviating an attack in progress, typically start to kick in within minutes and may last for hours. This type of medication differs from long-term control medication in that patients cannot take them every day.
Nevertheless, quick-effect rescue medications are a great complement to a long-term control treatment. They work together to make asthma more manageable.
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