Asthma is an increasingly common health problem in the United States. Asthma is a swelling and tightening of the airways that presents itself in the form of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. There are multiple reasons for this. One source is outdoor air quality. Smog and smoke, industrial waste released into the air and carbon emissions from cars all add to the problem. The quality of indoor air is also an issue. Buildings that have repurposed air tend to have lower air quality, even with the most effective air filters.
Asthma is not curable, but it can be controlled. Inhaled corticosteroids are one regularly used treatment. The aim of all asthma treatments is to provide long-term control as an intervention for prevention of symptoms, offer quick relief if an individual is having an asthma attack and identifying triggers in order to prevent future asthma attacks.
The most common remedies include medications that prevent the onset of asthma. In the case of an ongoing attack, there are quick acting medicines that stop or lessen the severity of an asthma attack.
New interventions include:
• Biologics. These are medications that enhance and work with the immune system, preventing the airways from expanding and causing a shortness of breath. These are antibiotics with antibodies. Some can be ingested orally, and others are given via an injection.
• Bronchial thermoplasty. When asthma is too severe, it may require a surgical intervention such as bronchial thermoplasty. In this case, the airways are targeted by radiofrequency energy. Interestingly the aim is to destroy smooth muscle linings in the airways. This prevents the airway muscles from performing their normal function of constricting and expanding, ultimately expanding the opening by preventing its narrowing. The current protocol calls for three sessions that are given in three-week intervals.
Research is ongoing in the search for preventive measures and cures for asthma. A recent new pharmaceutical has been introduced – the first in two decades – that shows great promise. The end goal is to wipe out asthma in our lifetime.
If you are struggling with asthma, contact the professionals at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma. We are experienced in helping patients cope with and find relief from asthma symptoms.