Written by Cassandra Merkling (last updated September 11, 2009)
Treating a condition like asthma usually entails some kind of medication. Although you can treat it, you cannot cure it. However, treatment is good these days and you can find a way to let it interfere with your life as little as possible. Your doctor will be willing to help you write down an action plan for your asthma. This plan will help you know what you must do to keep your asthma under control normally and what to do in an emergency.
Although asthma can be caused my multiple things, each treatment must cater to the cause. If it is caused by an allergen, for example, you will need to not only avoid what you are allergic to, but also make sure you get some kind of allergy medication so that when you do come in contact with the cause of your allergy, you can cope with it effectively.
There are several kinds of long-term medications that a person with asthma can take: long-acting beta-2 agonists (also known as LABAs), inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, cromolyn, nedocromil, and theophylline. The first half of these work to reduce inflammation, while the last one and the LABAs open up your airways. The other two (cromolyn and nedocromil) are basically allergy treatments.
Along with these medications are the fast-acting treatments, such as short-acting beta-2 agonists (which relax the muscles around your airways and are also known as SABAs), ipratropium (also an airway muscle relaxant), and corticosteroids (which clear up the inflammation again) that are taken orally or intravenously.
There are some good alternative therapies that may help you with your condition. One is to exercise, because activity will keep you taking nice, deep breaths. This will strengthen your lungs so you can get air more easily when you breathe in. In fact, anything that gets you breathing more deeply can strengthen your lungs. Some people find that yoga helps, while others suggest plain old deep breathing exercises. Among the management techniques others try are acupuncture, muscle training, and herbal therapy. There is not enough scientific evidence to support whether or not these methods work, though.
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