Bronchial asthma is a chronic disease characterized by episodic asthma attacks when exposed to any provoking factors – the so-called triggers.
Unfortunately, bronchial asthma, at whatever age this disease debuts, cannot be completely cured. However, it can be controlled.
With well-controlled asthma, the number of attacks decreases and the patient can lead an active lifestyle.
So, people with a diagnosis of “bronchial asthma” can successfully study, work, play sports, travel, have a hobby. Moreover, to successfully build social and personal relationships, start a family and raise children. And yet there is one “but”: the condition for the realization of all these possibilities is the control of the disease. What is it, or what does it mean to “control bronchial asthma”?
To begin with, we recall once again that bronchial asthma is a disease characterized by inflammation of the bronchi. In a healthy state, they are pathways through which air circulates freely. However, with inflammation caused by various factors, the walls of the bronchi swell, thicken, and the lumen, on the contrary, narrows, mucus is released.
As a result, air cannot freely enter the lungs and exit when exhaling, a person experiences unpleasant symptoms: a feeling of congestion in the chest, a wheezing cough, and shortness of breath. This is an asthma attack.
To control bronchial asthma means to prevent attacks, to strive to ensure that their number is constantly decreasing. To do this, it is necessary to follow certain rules, which for patients with bronchial asthma should become the rules of life .
- Avoid factors that cause seizures. For each patient, they may be different. However, the most common are allergens (food, pollen, fungi, household, pet hair, mites); smoking; psychological and/or socio-economic problems; concomitant diseases ( rhinosinusitis , obesity, food allergies, etc.); pregnancy 1 .
It is important to know which factor is dangerous for a particular patient and try to exclude it.
Use drugs strictly according to the doctor’s instructions. To successfully control the disease, asthma patients are prescribed two types of drugs: fast-acting bronchodilators (“rescue drugs”), which are used to stop asthma attacks; anti-inflammatory drugs, primarily inhaled glucocorticosteroids (IGCS) for basic therapy.
Treatment of bronchial asthma, according to international and Russian clinical guidelines, should be aimed at, firstly, eliminating the symptoms, and secondly, reducing the risk of exacerbations 1 . Thus, it is based on anti-inflammatory drugs, primarily inhaled glucocorticosteroids (IGCS), as well as fast-acting bronchodilators , which are used to relieve symptoms.
It is important to strictly follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. Only in this case it will be possible to control the disease.
Learn to monitor your condition and be able to predict an exacerbation. For this, it is necessary to pay attention to the symptoms (wheezing cough, wheezing and chest congestion, nocturnal awakenings). At the first manifestations of an attack, you should immediately stop contact with the provoking factor and use a bronchodilator medication. In general, the frequency of use of drugs to relieve symptoms is another indicator of asthma control.
So, if a patient uses an emergency inhaler more than twice a week, this means that asthma is out of control and it is necessary to consult a doctor to correct therapy 2 . Peak flowmetry helps to monitor the state of the respiratory system and correctly predict exacerbations 2 . This technique is based on daily measurements and fixation of peak expiratory flow (PEF). Peak flowmetry readings not only allow the patient to monitor their condition, but also represent valuable information for the attending physician.
4. Regularly – 2-3 times a year – visit a doctor, even if everything is fine 2 . Unfortunately, bronchial asthma is a disease that cannot be defeated alone, so it is important not only to choose the right doctor, but also to trust him.
This means to strictly follow all his recommendations, strictly follow the treatment plan, and not show independence in making therapeutic decisions.
It is important not to be shy to ask questions and share doubts: it is better to consult once again than to expose yourself to additional risks.
In the end, the goal of the doctor and the patient is the same – to control bronchial asthma so that it allows you to live a full life.