Asthma Guidelines -
A Guide To Modern Treatments

Understanding asthma guidelines is vital to treating this breathing problem. When you understand what asthma is, what causes it, and possible treatment plans, you know how to control your worst symptoms. With that in mind, you can live symptom-free.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that is usually characterized by coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It is caused either by the environment or genetic factors or a mixture of both.

The following describes the most common asthma guidelines as recommended by the American Medical Association:

An Asthma Diagnosis Is The First Step

Medical treatment usually begins with a trip to the doctor’s office or emergency room. A diagnosis of asthma is usually based on medical history, a physical examination, and lung function test.

According to the asthma guidelines set by the American Medical Association, the severity of asthma is categorized according to the frequency and intensity of symptoms.

If your symptoms include wheezing and shortness of breath and happen more than twice a week, it requires medical attention.

Step Down Therapy 

Asthma guidelines are based upon the Step Down Therapy. In this type of treatment plan, asthma medication is slowly reduced. The ultimate goal is to treat the symptoms with the least amount of medication and prevent future attacks. The plan for Step Down Therapy is as followed:

  • Step 1: The medical team treats the individual with a rescue inhaler or intravenous medication to immediately alleviate symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Step 2: When symptoms are resolved, the dosage of the medication is then slowly decreased.
  • Step 3: The person recovers and is closely monitored for any setbacks.
  • Step 4: Preventative medication may be given to prevent future attacks.

The purpose of this type of treatment is to slowly improve the symptoms over time with little side effects.

Peak Flow Meter

In most cases, doctors will prescribe a therapy that uses a peak flow meter. This small, hand-held device carefully measures the lung's performance before and after an asthma attack.

While using a peak flow meter, many asthma sufferers are able to watch for worsening symptoms and take action when the condition starts to get out of control. 

If you suffer from moderate to severe asthma, you should consider using a peak flow meter readings to monitor your breathing. With baseline readings, you will be able to self-monitor your breathing at home.

Asthma Medications

After a diagnosis, asthma medications are prescribed according to the severity of the attacks. Inhalers filled with selective and powerful asthma medications are a popular form of treatment.

They're extremely effective and safe to use long term. 

For severe and life threatening asthma attacks, shots of powerful agents are injected to bring them under control. In emergency situations, asthma sufferers usually experience severely inflamed airways and may even lose consciousness.  

For this reason, if you struggle with symptoms, you should always keep an inhaler on hand, just in case.

Allergy Shots

Allergy shots, which are also known as Immunotherapy, may be prescribed by a doctor. The shots are taken by an asthmatic person on regular basis to reduce the body's sensitivity to specific allergens. Overtime the episodes decrease as an individual becomes “less allergic”. In the end, many asthmatics have less or no asthma attacks because they are no longer triggered by allergens.

If you suffer from allergies, doctors often look for specific triggers that can set off an attack. Outside irritants such as mold, air pollution, and pet dander are known to exacerbate or cause attacks. 

If you take note when and where you have trouble breathing, you can find clues to what your triggers are.

More Information
On The Safest Asthma Treatments

Many people with asthma find fewer complications when they find a management plan that really works. Read The SAFE Asthma Treatment Guide and discover the four steps to controlling asthma.  

With a little help from your doctor and the right plan of action, you can control your wheezing so that you can breathe easier.

And remember … any asthma treatment prescribed by a physician should always be taken as ordered, even if there are no symptoms. Your doctor is the gatekeeper to keeping you healthy.

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