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Inside the Asthma Guide: A Doctor's Tour


Treatment & Self-Care continued...

Inhaled anti-inflammatory drugs (asthma controllers) are the foundation of preventive treatment for most people with asthma. Some people also need a long-acting bronchodilator to help keep their airways open. You will also need some "rescue inhalers," or short-term asthma relievers, which work within a few minutes to relieve asthma symptoms. When your airways are relaxed and open, air can flow in and out of your lungs more easily.

No matter what medication your doctor prescribes -- anti-inflammatory drugs,bronchodilators, or prednisone -- it's important to stay on the asthma medication for as long as prescribed. Also, ask your doctor to write up an asthma action plan to help you understand and manage your asthma every day. Make sure your child has an asthma action plan, and talk to your child's teachers about bringing asthma medications to school.

Day-to-Day Living

Self-managing asthma can be challenging, especially if you are busy juggling careers, kids, or other commitments. That's why knowledge is power in living with asthma. Learn more about the basics of asthma and diet. Discover how exercising with asthma can help increase your endurance and help keep you fit. Also, learn about finding asthma support, so you can manage stress and anxiety and reduce your asthma symptoms. There are answers, and WebMD’s Asthma Guide provides them for you.

You are sure to have more questions, even after reading our Asthma Guide. There are two asthma message boards on WebMD. At my asthma message board, I answer questions once or twice a week. Patients and parents with lots of experience with asthma can respond very quickly to your questions on WebMD's Asthma Support Group. In addition, I've found some excellent information on asthma from online asthma organizations.

For example, see the latest guidelines on the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (written by experts from the United States). While the report is lengthy, you can read small sections or do a search for specific terms such as "inhaled corticosteroids" or "asthma management." The "Crashing Asthmatic," provided by the American Family Physician, describes the signs, symptoms, and emergency treatment of a patient with a severe asthma attack (called status asthmaticus) who deteriorates into respiratory failure despite initial treatment. Understanding the early warning signs can allow you to seek immediate help for yourself or a loved one when treatment is most effective.

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