Asthma - Effective Treatments

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What kinds of treatments have you received for your asthma?

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Acute asthma attack

An acute, or sudden, asthma attack is usually caused by an exposure to allergens or an upper-respiratory-tract infection. The severity of the attack depends on how well your underlying asthma is being controlled (reflecting how well the airway inflammation is being controlled). An acute attack is potentially life-threatening because it may continue despite the use of your usual quick-relief medications (inhaled bronchodilators). Asthma that is unresponsive to treatment with an inhaler should prompt you to seek medical attention at the closest hospital emergency room or your asthma specialist office, depending on the circumstances and time of day. Asthma attacks do not stop on their own without treatment. If you ignore the early warning signs, you put yourself at risk of developing status asthmaticus.

Prolonged attacks of asthma that do not respond to treatment with bronchodilators are a medical emergency. Physicians call these severe attacks "status asthmaticus," and they require immediate emergency care.

The symptoms of severe asthma are persistent coughing and the inability to speak full sentences or walk without shortness of breath. Your chest may feel closed, and your lips may have a bluish tint. In addition, you may feel agitation, confusion, or an inability to concentrate. You may hunch your shoulders, sit or stand up to breathe more easily, and strain your abdominal and neck muscles. These are signs of an impending respiratory system failure. At this point, it is unlikely that inhaled medications will reverse this process. A mechanical ventilator may be needed to assist the lungs and respiratory muscles. A face mask or a breathing tube is inserted in the nose or mouth for this treatment. These breathing aids are temporary and are removed once the attack has subsided and the lungs have recovered sufficiently to resume the work of breathing on their own. A short hospital stay in an intensive-care unit may be a result of a severe attack that has not been promptly treated. To avoid such hospitalization, it is best, at the onset of symptoms, to begin immediate early treatment at home or in your doctor's office.

The presence of wheezing or coughing in and of itself is not a reliable standard for judging the severity of an asthma attack. Very severe attacks may clog the tubes to such a degree that the lack of air in and out of your lungs fails to produce wheezing or coughing.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: still fighting, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I was diagnosed with COPD about 15 yrs ago after suffering from Asthma for almost 25 yrs. I was forced to go on disability and have managed to lead a fairly normal life except I lead a very sedentary lifestyle due to shortness of breath. I quit smoking 17 yrs ago after smoking for 35 yrs. I had tried many times previously but failed until I used a nicotine patch. Thank God for that success. I know I have shortened my life but have managed with meds like Advair, Singulair, Spiriva, Theodor, Ventolin inhaler, and sometimes Predinsone to get along. I only wish I had been able to quit smoking sooner than I did but I suffered from terrible withdrawal symptoms. I lost my best friend last week to COPD. My advice - don't quit trying to quit smoking! You can succeed!

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Comment from: Ana, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I'm 32 years old. I had asthma all my life and I usually ended up in the emergency room twice a year, well there is actually 2 occasions where my asthma was completely controlled. The first one was when I was 12 or 13 years old I started seeing an allergist. I got desensitized and it worked. The treatment is based on a series of vaccines and it completely took away all my symptoms. I was a "normal" person. I jogged and danced and nothing ever got my breath away until I turned 20 or 21. After my first child it took me a long time before I found a treatment that worked, but I finally did after being in the ER twice in one week. I got an asthmatic doctor who told me he was going to give me the treatment he used and he said that I wouldn't get an attack again. Okay it was Flovent twice a day, Nasonex once in the morning, Foradil twice a day, and Singulair once a day and for the past 2 years I've been asthma free. I don't even take my Albuterol with me everywhere. I actually don't use it (I don't recommend this), but I'm truly happy with the treatment and I know is a lot, but it becomes part of your daily routine just like washing your face or brushing your teeth! I hope at least one person benefit from this comment. It has been life changing for me and I hope it would be for someone else.

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