Skip to content

Asthma Health Center

Treating Asthma: Personalized Medicine

Are you getting care that's right for your body, your age, and your background?
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Feature

A lot of people think that treating asthma is simple: when you start wheezing, just take a puff from a rescue inhaler.

But it's not so straightforward for most people. Every case of asthma is different and the disease can take many forms. So each person's treatment needs to be different too. The medicines that work for your relative or your friend or your neighbor may not work for you.

Recommended Related to Asthma

Tracking Asthma Symptoms: Key to Control

Asthma symptoms are like the weather -- they change often and may seem unpredictable. But also like the weather, careful tracking of asthma symptoms can help identify patterns and what they may say about your asthma control. Research has shown that tracking and rating your asthma symptoms are key steps in successfully managing asthma. One study even found that it helps keep kids with childhood asthma out of the emergency room. Most asthma action plans track your “peak flow” (measured by a portable,...

Read the Tracking Asthma Symptoms: Key to Control article > >

"Every person who has been diagnosed with asthma needs a treatment plan that's custom-tailored to his or her specific needs," says allergist Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

What's more, your asthma treatment may need to be adjusted regularly. Because the disease is constantly changing -- along with your life and related influences -- the treatment that once worked very well may no longer be the best choice.

"Your past experience of asthma isn't always predictive of what your asthma will be like in the future," says Hugh H. Windom, MD, associate clinical professor of immunology at the University of South Florida, Tampa. And as your symptoms change, your treatment needs to keep up.

So it's key that you and your doctor develop a personalized treatment program. When it comes to asthma treatment, one size does not fit all.

Misunderstanding Asthma

Many people with asthma only think about it when they are having an attack. But controlling asthma does not just mean treating flare-ups with a rescue inhaler. It's not like taking aspirin for the occasional headache.

"If you're just using a bronchodilator -- a rescue medicine -- you're not dealing with the real disease," Bernstein tells WebMD. "You're not treating the underlying inflammation in the airways."

Michael S. Blaiss, MD, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, says that some people don't really understand asthma.

"Many people -- and some doctors -- still don't realize that asthma is a chronic disease," he says. "It's still there even when you're feeling well."

In fact, the inflammation in the airways can worsen without causing any symptoms -- only lung function tests may detect it, says Bernstein. Even if you do have worsening symptoms, the changes may happen so slowly that you don't notice.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
 
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
 
Los Angeles skyline in smog
Slideshow
man in a field with allergies
Slideshow
 
Woman holding inhaler
VIDEO
Slideshow Allergy Myths and Facts
Slideshow
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Man outdoors coughing
Article
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
Article
 
10 Worst Asthma Cities
Slideshow
runner
Article