Asthma is a condition where the muscles around the bronchial airways become tightened so that the airways become more and more narrow. In addition to this the lining of the airways become inflamed and causes the airways to become even narrower, restricting the amount of air that passes through with each breath. This is very uncomfortable for the person who is experiencing it and can be made even worse if sticky mucus or phlegm builds up in the airways and makes them even narrower.
Symptoms of Asthma
Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath or a feeling of tightness in the chest. Everyone may not experience all of these symptoms, and experiencing these symptoms does not automatically mean that you are asthmatic, but you should definitely speak to a physician if you find that you are experiencing any of these symptoms frequently.
If you have already had a consultation with your doctor and you have been diagnosed as asthmatic you may have been given medication or an inhaler. You must make sure that you take the medication as directed by your doctor.
Types of Inhalers for Asthma
There are two main types of inhalers available for asthma and it is important that you understand what type you have and ensure that you use it in the right way. The types of inhalers are reliever inhalers and preventer inhalers.
Most asthma suffers will be given a reliever inhaler. Reliever medications act quickly to relieve the symptoms of an asthma attack, i.e. they work quickly to relax the muscles around the bronchial airways so that the airways open up and allow you to breathe easier.
Not everyone with asthma will be given a preventer inhaler. The preventer inhalers tend to be given if your doctor thinks that the reliever inhaler is not sufficient to control your asthma. For example if you find that you are using your reliever inhaler more than 3 times a week, you are breathless or have a tight chest during normal every-day activities, you sleep is frequently broken due to wheezing, coughing or breathlessness; if you frequently suffer with these symptoms your doctor may feel that it is necessary to give you a preventer inhaler. The preventer medications include mild steroids that build up over time and help to reduce long-term inflammation. Preventer inhalers must be taken every day, usually in the morning and at night, even when you are well in order for them to work properly.
Preventive Inhalers for Asthma
If you have not been prescribed a preventer inhaler but you think that you might need one you should make an appointment to speak to a physician about it. If your asthma is not being properly controlled you may find that you experience a feeling of tightness in your chest, especially at night, or you need to use your reliever inhaler more than three times a week. You may even find that when you use the reliever in haler you might feel that it is not working, or you cannot perform normal, mildly strenuous tasks without needing your reliever inhaler. If you are experiencing any of these you need to book a consultation with your doctor to discuss further treatment options.