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Asthma Health Center

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Asthma in Teens and Adults - Treatment Overview

It's important to treat asthma, because even mild asthma can damage your airways.

Know the goals of treatment

By following your treatment plan, you can meet your goals to:11

  • Prevent symptoms.
  • Keep your lung function as close to normal as possible.
  • Be able to do your normal daily activities, including work, school, exercise, and recreation.
  • Prevent asthma attacks.
  • Have few or no side effects from medicine.
actionset.gif Asthma: Taking Charge of Your Asthma

Follow your asthma action plan

An asthma action plan tells you which medicines to take every day and how to treat asthma attacks. It may include an asthma diary where you record your peak expiratory flow (PEF) or your symptoms, or both. You also can list the cause of your symptoms and what medicines you took for quick relief. This helps you identify triggers that can be changed or avoided. It also lets you be aware of your symptoms and know how to make quick decisions about medicine and treatment. See an example of an asthma action plan(What is a PDF document?).

actionset.gif Asthma: Using an Asthma Action Plan

Take medicines

You'll likely take several medicines to control your asthma and to prevent attacks. Your doctor may adjust your medicines depending on how well your asthma is controlled. Medicines include:

  • Oral or injected corticosteroids. These medicines may be used to get your asthma under control before you start taking daily medicine. They can also be used to treat any sudden and severe symptoms (asthma attacks), such as shortness of breath.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids (controller medicine). These reduce the inflammation in your airways. You take them every day to keep asthma under control and to prevent asthma attacks.
  • Short-acting beta2-agonists and anticholinergics (quick-relief medicine). These medicines are used for asthma attacks. Overuse of quick-relief medicine can be harmful.

Inhalers deliver medicine directly to the lungs. To get the best asthma control possible, be sure you know how to use your inhaler. Use a spacer camera.gif with your inhaler if your doctor recommends it.

actionset.gif Breathing Problems: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler
actionset.gif Breathing Problems: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
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