Although asthma is not curable, there are a variety of options available to treat and bring symptoms under control.
Asthmatics can also use various remedies that may prevent or alleviate symptoms. Treatments range from prescribed medications, over-the-counter remedies, natural/holistic approaches, and additionally, clinical research studies for asthma treatments. Find out more about each of these options.
Asthma medications fall into two categories; those that relieve and those that control symptoms over the long term.
- Drugs used to relieve symptoms work by quickly relaxing the airways. In addition, sufferers may be offered anticholinergics that prevent the muscles of the airways from contracting.
- The goal of long-term medications is to prevent attacks, and they work by opening and relaxing the airways. Asthma treatments include powders that are inhaled, oral tablets taken by mouth and, on occasion, treatments given with a shot or needle, intravenously.
Both long and short-term treatments have risks and side effects associated with them.
People who have asthma should always carry medications, most specifically rescue medications to help with acute attacks.
However, asthmatics may find some relief with home remedies that include the following:
- Steam with essential oils. It relieves congestion, promotes calmness and loosens mucus.
- Drinks that have a positive effect on asthma symptoms include freshly brewed black coffee, green tea with ginseng, ginger root tea and Ginkgo biloba tea. All of these contain properties that support the body in overcoming the onset of symptoms.
- Foods such as dark chocolate and raw honey.
- Fish oil supplements, evening primrose oil and turmeric spice.
Preventing Asthma Symptoms
There is a broad range of potential causes of asthma. Some are related to external elements that cause allergic reactions. In such cases, removing allergens from the patient’s environment improves symptoms and minimizes the frequency of attacks. Allergens commonly associated with asthma include pet hair, pollen, dust mites and strong fragrances. Keeping pets out of bedrooms and off of furniture may prevent attacks, as can avoiding dust while cleaning or working in dusty environments.
Lifestyle changes also make a difference to the frequency and severity of attacks. Stopping smoking, avoiding smoky atmospheres and removing foods that include potential triggers from the diet may have a positive effect.
It is also important to check other medications; avoiding drugs and supplements with potential triggers is among the most common preventive measures. Keeping a record of attacks and the potential triggers also helps to highlight patterns and support the changes that asthmatics need to make.
Clinical trials are conducted to find out if new medications and treatments are both safe and effective. They are reliant on volunteers who are willing to participate throughout the duration of the study to try therapies under research.
Some of the reasons for taking part in a clinical trial include:
- The potential to have access to the newest treatments under development
- The opportunity to potentially help others in the future
- Access to study-related doctors and/or specialists
- Possible compensation for time and travel
As any trial has risks associated with it, an informed consent is required to take part in clinical trials. These risks are explained in full at the research site, and individuals have the right to information about potential risks as they become known. In addition, participants can leave trials at any point. Anyone considering a clinical trial should first speak to their medical practitioner and discuss what might work best for him or her.
The bottom line: Asthma treatment is not one size fits all. Each person requires a treatment that is specific to them, to their triggers and their environment. Understanding the options available and working out a plan with a physician is essential to living safely with asthma.