Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Asthma Treatment

Pollen allergy concept. Young woman is going to sneeze. Flowering trees in background

Asthma, a chronic life threatening condition is increasing rapidly.

As there is no cure, it is important that you understand the causes and treatments and learn to live with it.

Firstly, you have to distinguish the asthma triggers and what creates a susceptibility to those triggers.

This article will elaborate the common causes of asthma as well as the two different types of treatment that is relievers and preventers. Knowledge about these treatments and causes of asthma can help provide a sense of control for sufferers during the acute stages.

Many people confuse asthma triggers with causes however there are crucial differences.

Triggers are simply the things that precipitate an asthma attack. It could be the cold air, a cold virus, exercise, tobacco smoke, or even laughter. These triggers are the things that cause an asthma attack to occur but they are not the root cause of asthma. 

The easiest way to think about the difference is to remember that in the absence of this root cause, the triggers would not lead to breathing difficulties. After all, not everyone has an asthma attack when they encounter cold air. But what then, are these mysterious causes?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is neither simple, nor fully known. The truth is that there are a number of factors that are believed to be involved in causing asthma and it is probable that the precise links to it are not similar for everyone. What is well accepted is that there is a genetic predisposition to asthma. 

However just because asthma runs in families, it does not mean asthmatic parents will necessarily have asthmatic children. In short, their children may have a high risk of developing it.

Our genes are not the only factor, however. Asthma is strongly associated with allergies and this is particularly true of children. The environment may also have an indirect effect, in that it may influence whether asthmatic genes are ‘turned on’ to become a problem. 

People’s immune system may not be as strong in Westernized countries because they avoided infections and illnesses when they were very young, infections that serve to strengthen the immune system in others. These are of course not the only factors involved, but they serve to illustrate the complexity of the question.

Understanding what causes asthma is not sufficient, treatment is also necessary. There are two primary avenues of response to asthma, those medicines that work in the short term (called relievers) and those that work over time (the preventers).

Generally, only those with chronic asthma need to use preventers which are taken every day and generally few weeks before their benefits are seen. There are a number of different types of preventers but steroids are considered the most powerful.

Relievers work quickly and are taken at the time when sufferers notice their symptoms getting worse. An example of this type of treatment is Bronchodilators which relax the muscles of the airway,

All the time there are new advances treatments and causes of asthma. You may need a combination of treatments and this may change over times, so make sure you are always responsive to your changing symptoms.

The most important is if you do not fully understand about the condition, consult your doctor who can help you at all times.