Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I keep control of my asthma?"
I am 27 and I cary my inhaler everywhere. What else can I do to control my asthma? I try not to get out of breath too often.
Asthma is a chronic, fairly common condition affecting over 20 million people in the United States. Often, children with asthma outgrow the condition, but there are still many adults with persistent asthma symptoms. Your primary care physician can help you manage your asthma. Asthma has three main components: airway inflammation, obstruction of airflow, and bronchial hyperreactivity. Albuterol (the medication likely in your inhaler), which is a bronchodilator, works by affecting the bronchial hyperreactivity aspect and helping to open the airways acutely. It is important to have your albuterol inhaler with you in case of acute asthma attacks and difficulty breathing. Albuterol is considered a "rescue" medication for an asthma flare. When asthma is more persistent, a "controller" medication is required. This is often a low dose inhaled cortiosteroid like Flovent (fluticasone). This helps reduce the degree of airway inflammation and decrease the frequency of asthma flares. There are various different triggers for asthma and you can work with your physician to help discover which factors affect you the most. Some of the common triggers include colds and viral illnesses, smoke, exercise, and environmental allergens. If you feel that allergies trigger your asthma, you can ask your doctor about allergy medications and possible benefit for asthma flare prevention. Asthma should be managed closely by your primary care physician, especially if it is not under appropriate control or you are having new symptoms. Pulmonary or Allergy consultations can also be considered.
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