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What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease which blocks the airways resulting in breathing problems. The common symptoms of the disease are whizzing, coughing, and shortness of breath (Godfrey, 1985). One of the main challenges facing asthma patients is that the disease has no cure.
The quick-relievers help the patients to manage the condition when symptoms flare up. One of the drugs is the short-acting beta 2 agonist such as albuterol (Mayo, 2018). This drug is inhaled to loosen the muscles around the airways. When this happens the normal airflow is regained within minutes.
The other quick-reliever is ipratropium which works in the same way as the albuterol (Mayo, 2018). It relaxes the air passage and allows the patient to regain normal breathing.
It can only be controlled using short and long-term drugs. The doctors have come up with a step wise approach that is being used in the control and management of asthma. Our focus in this paper is to discuss the quick-relief treatment options and the long-term control of asthma and their impact on the patients.
Secondly, we will explain the step wise control and management approach and its effectiveness in helping health care providers manage the disease.
Furthermore, corticosteroids are the other quick-relievers that are administered to patients with severe asthma. These drugs have serious side effects on the patients and need to be administered only when the asthma is severe. Normally they are given in pills or by injecting them into a vein. Additionally, the drugs are commonly used to control exercise-induced asthma.
Thus they can be taken before the patient engages in the exercise or training. Ultimately, the quick-relievers help to relax the airways to stop asthma which could be in progress but they do not cure the inflammation as it is the case of long-term control drugs (Mayo, 2018).
Long-term asthma control drugs are taken daily even when the symptoms are unavailable. The drugs are categorized as bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory (Zahran, Bailey, Qin, & Johnson, 2017). The anti-inflammatory drugs help to reduce the swelling in the airways and the mucus produced. One of the anti-inflammatory drugs is corticosteroid. Corticosteroids exist in forms such as fluticasone, budesonide, mometasone, and beclomethasone.
These drugs prevent the occurrence of symptoms. In children, these drugs affect growth. The other anti-inflammatory drug is the leukotriene modifier. The leukotriene modifiers such as montelukast inhibit the production of immune chemicals which trigger asthma symptoms.
The bronchodilators include long-acting beta 2 and theophylline. The long-acting beta 2 agonists such as salmeterol are effective in controlling nighttime asthma.
Impact of Long-Term and Quick-Relieve Treatment Drugs on the Patient
The quick-relievers have mild impact on the patient. One of the effects is increased heart palpitations. At other times it causes the patient to experience mild muscle tremors especially when the drugs are taken in large doses. The other side effect is that the patient is worn out.
On the other hand, long-term drugs can have serious side effects on the patient. For instance, patients taking inhaled corticosteroids are likely to develop thrush in the mouth which is a fungal infection, mouth sores, and hoarseness.
Moreover, patients with severe asthma take theophylline such as elixopyllin to manage the condition. In most cases, Elixophyllin is administered to patients in pill form. To some patients, the doctors recommend a combination of the anti-inflammatory and bronchodilators drugs in order to fully manage asthma.
Stepwise Approach to Asthma Treatment and Management
Asthma can be managed in six steps. The steps are ways in which medics administer drugs from a mild case of asthma, in step 1 to a more severe case in step 6. The first step involves administering short-acting-beta antagonist (SABA) drugs to patients with exercise-induced or mild asthma (Dunn, Neff & Maurer, 2017).
In Step 2 the patients take a low dosage of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and also continue with SABA drugs. At this stage, the patient experiences mild but persistent asthma.
In step 3, the patient combines a low dosage of ICS and the Long-acting Beta antagonists (LABA) drugs. At this stage, the patient experiences moderate and persistent asthma. From step 4 to step 6 the patient experiences severe and persistent asthma.
Thus in step 4, the patient takes a medium dosage of ICS and LABA. In step 5, the patient transits to a high dosage of ICS and LABA due to the level of asthma severity.
In step 6, the last stage, the patient adds oral corticosteroids to the high dosage offered in stage 5. In every stage, alternative drugs are given depending on the response of the patients to drugs
The effectiveness of Stepwise Management Health Care Providers and Patients
Stepwise management helps the health care providers to classify asthma according to its severity and hence the patient is provided with the right medication (Dunn, Neff & Maurer, 2017). Further, it enhances the judgment of the caregiver who is attending to the patient. Also, utilization of the step wise approach assists the caregiver to know when to up or down the medication.
In conclusion, both quick-relievers and long-term controls of asthma are crucial in the management of asthma patients. They help to fight the breathing problems. With the development of step wise management of asthma patients can deal with any level of severity.
To the patient, the step wise management ensures that only the minimum and necessary medication is given. Ultimately, the step wise management helps the patients to get the right medication depending on the severity of asthma.
Dunn, N. A., Neff, L. A., & Maurer, D. M. (2017). A step wise approach to pediatric asthma. Journal of Family Practice, 66(5), 280-286.
Godfrey, S. (1985). What is asthma?. Archives of disease in childhood, 60(11), 997.
Mayo, A. (2018). Asthma medications: Know your options. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/in-depth/asthma-medications/art-20045557
Zahran, H. S., Bailey, C. M., Qin, X., & Johnson, C. (2017). Long-term control medication use and asthma control status among children and adults with asthma. Journal of Asthma, 54(10), 1065-1072.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Uriel Kushiel