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How is asthma treated?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Asthma treatment options involves a two-tiered approach: preventing asthma attacks and stopping asthma attacks when they occur. Asthma attacks can be prevented or lessened by limiting exposure to allergens that can trigger attacks. Staying away from pet dander and cigarette smoke is helpful for people with asthma. Taking your medicine as directed is also a good way to prevent or lessen asthma attacks.

If you have an asthma attack, you will probably use a fast-acting inhaler. This instrument contains medicine which acts rapidly to expand your airways. If you find yourself using this kind of medicine too often, it is time to contact your doctor and adjust how you manage your asthma.

About 70 percent of people who have asthma also have allergies, which may contribute to symptoms. Identifying any allergies you may have is an important step in treating your asthma effectively, because once you identify your allergens, you can take steps to avoid them. A variety of skin tests can help pinpoint your allergens. There are also blood tests that measure the amount of IgE that your body makes in response to certain allergens. IgE is an antibody that initiates allergy symptoms.

Even if you've had allergy testing in the past, your doctor may recommend retesting because the allergens you're sensitive to can change over time.

Asthma is treated with two main types of medicines called relievers and controllers. Both of these asthma medicines come as inhalers. Sometimes people with asthma need other treatments that come as tablets. A doctor will help work out what's best for people with asthma.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.