What are Asthma Guidelines?

Marco Sumayao
Marco Sumayao
An asthma inhaler.
An asthma inhaler.

Asthma, a condition where the lung’s bronchial tubes become constricted due to an allergic reaction, requires certain guidelines for management and treatment. Symptoms of an asthma attack include wheezing, dry cough, and breathlessness. Although the disease itself cannot be treated, asthma guidelines can help patients manage the symptoms and prevent the next attack. Common asthma management techniques include taking asthma treatment as prescribed, treating attacks early, and identifying and avoiding attack triggers.

An illustration of the pathology of asthma.
An illustration of the pathology of asthma.

Doctors usually write up an asthma action plan for individuals diagnosed with asthma. This comprehensive list of asthma guidelines includes information on taking medicines properly, avoiding triggers, and other preventive measures. Generally speaking, asthma management is done using two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medications and long-term treatments. Quick-relief medicine relieves the symptoms as they appear, while long-term medication prevents symptoms by reducing bronchial tube inflammation. The prescribed asthma treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and the causes of the attacks.

A dry cough, accompanied by wheezing, may be a sign of an asthma attack.
A dry cough, accompanied by wheezing, may be a sign of an asthma attack.

According to most asthma guidelines, attacks are best treated in the early stages to subdue the symptoms and prevent a severe attack. Patients should be on the lookout for warning signs like wheezing, shortness of breath, or slight coughing. The asthma action plan should tell the patient how to deal with these early symptoms and when to see the doctor or run to the emergency room. Generally speaking, a patient should identify and avoid the activity or stimuli that might have triggered the attack. If symptoms do not subside, the patient should receive medical help as stated by asthma guidelines.

Asthma action plans may involve the use of an inhaler for sudden attacks.
Asthma action plans may involve the use of an inhaler for sudden attacks.

The key to preventing an attack is to identify the triggers and minimize exposure to allergens. Asthma guidelines list dust mites, cigarette smoke, and certain fragrances as common triggers of allergic reactions. Other common triggers include animal dander and food allergies. Certain environmental triggers, such as molds and changes in temperature, are harder to identify, making them problematic for some patients. To identify these triggers, a patient can keep a diary detailing asthma symptoms and the environmental context of the asthma attack.

It is not uncommon for asthma sufferers to also fall victim to certain allergies.
It is not uncommon for asthma sufferers to also fall victim to certain allergies.

One possible asthma trigger that should not be avoided is exercise. Although physical activity can trigger an attack in certain cases, asthma guidelines generally view exercise in a favorable light, as aerobic exercise can improve the patient's lung conditioning. Doctors can prescribe long-term and short-term medications that prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms. Easing into a workout routine using a warm-up period and covering one’s mouth when working out in cold weather provide additional protection against an attack.

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    • An asthma inhaler.
      By: alctxphoto
      An asthma inhaler.
    • An illustration of the pathology of asthma.
      By: Alila
      An illustration of the pathology of asthma.
    • A dry cough, accompanied by wheezing, may be a sign of an asthma attack.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      A dry cough, accompanied by wheezing, may be a sign of an asthma attack.
    • Asthma action plans may involve the use of an inhaler for sudden attacks.
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      Asthma action plans may involve the use of an inhaler for sudden attacks.
    • It is not uncommon for asthma sufferers to also fall victim to certain allergies.
      By: robyelo357
      It is not uncommon for asthma sufferers to also fall victim to certain allergies.