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Treating Asthma: Preventing Damage to the Airways

Asthma can cause permanent damage to your lungs if not treated early and well. Here's why - and what you can do.

When Living With Asthma, Demand the Best Treatment

If you're suffering from asthma now, understand that you can feel better. Doctors have treatments that will help.

Of course, many things can get in the way of good treatment. One of them is the price. Experts agree that the costs of many asthma medications have become very high in recent years. According to the 2005 Health Costs Survey sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health, and USA Today, 43% of all people with asthma said that, in the past year, they could not afford their treatment.

If the price is a problem for you, talk honestly with your doctor. See if you can get some free samples. Ask about assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies or by your state.

Whatever you do, don't put off getting treatment. Delaying might make your asthma worse.

"If you put off treatment with inhaled steroids too long, you could wind up with irreversible lung disease," says Craig.

So you need to take charge of your health care and fight for the best treatment you can get. Don't settle for a life restricted by symptoms. Don't settle for treatment that isn't helping.

"Demand that you get aggressive treatment of your asthma," says Edelman. "There is no reason for you to be suffering. You have the right to feel well."

Reviewed on November 05, 2005

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