GEHA | March 19, 2019
Do you have asthma? Do you take your medication as prescribed?
Unfortunately, it’s common for patients to fail to take their asthma medication correctly. They may take it erratically or just skip it.
Asthma symptoms can be misleading. Patients may quit taking their medication because they feel fine. All it takes is a trigger such as a cold, allergy, chemical irritant or air pollution to send you into the danger zone. Skipping your medication, even when you don’t have symptoms, could mean more flare-ups and worsened asthma in the future.
Asthma is a long-term, incurable disease that is caused by inflammation in the airways. The inflammation is always there and only produces symptoms when a certain threshold is reached. The threshold and triggers are different for each person. During an asthma attack, the lining of the airway swells and constricts the airway muscles.
Even when you feel well, your asthma hasn’t gone away and your airways might still be inflamed. Over time, if it isn’t well controlled your airways can be permanently damaged.
It’s easy to miss symptoms in children. Some don’t like to compete in sports or be physically active because they get short of breath. Children may not realize this is not normal, and parents may miss the asthma symptoms.
There are two basic types of medicines. Quick-relief medications, usually inhalers, reduce the muscle tightness around the airways. These are used during an asthma attack. Long-term control medicines calm inflammation or help prevent airways from closing. They are used daily and work slowly to prevent symptoms.
Don’t skip your maintenance medications. If you have asthma, you can regain control and live a full and normal life by avoiding triggers and taking your medicine as prescribed. If you notice more symptoms or a difference in breathing, see your doctor right away.
“Why You Need to Take Asthma Medicine, Even If You Feel Fine.” www.health.com, Meredith Health Group, Meredith Corporation, 29 February 2016.
“Treating Asthma: Preventing Damage to the Airways.” www.webmd.com, WebMD, 4 November 2005.