A comprehensive care for asthma that is inline with the current evidence should include drugs, asthma education, behavioral measures, and psychological measures. Drugs and asthma education is part of the standard treatment that is offered to asthmatics today. Evidence regarding the desirability of behavioral and psychological measures is pooling up. However, these measures are not yet part of routine asthma treatment. On this page evidence supporting these measures is being presented. Taken together psychosocial and behavioral measures constitute the non-drug approaches for the management of asthma.
Treatment of some co-existing conditions is often beneficial to the asthmatics. These include sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, and reflux esophagitis.
Asthma medicine are divided into two groups – reliever and controller medications.
- Reliever medications are those medicines that help to relieve an asthma attack. These medicines dilate the lung tubes and thereby help the asthmatic to tide over a crisis. Salbutamol is the most commonly used reliever medication. It is administered through inhalation and leads to prompt response in the acute attack of asthma. If asthma is uncontrolled more reliever medicine shall be required.
- Controller medicines are those medicines that prevent an acute attack of asthma. An example of controller drug is inhaled steroids and cromolyn sodium. These medicines are part of standard asthma treatment. If asthma is severe more controller medicine shall be required.
Asthma education helps an asthmatic to know about asthma in general and the methods to keep it under control. Asthma education includes (but is not confined to) the following:
- General information about asthma
- Factors that can lead to the onset of an asthma attack
- Medicine that are used in asthma
- How to deal with an asthma attack?
- How to recognize the need for professional help before it is too late?
- Why should an asthmatic continue to take medicines despite being asymptomatic?
- The correct method of using inhalers.
- Importance of physical exercise and a stress-free life for an asthmatic
- and more …
Use of behavioral measures doesn’t mean dealing with any ‘mental illness’ or a behavioral abnormality. The purpose of using these measures is to promote asthma friendly behaviors and to discourage behaviors that are asthma unfriendly. Adverse behavioral factors for asthma are smoking, sedentary activities, unhealthy diet, alcohol and drug abuse. There is evidence that promoting the following behaviors is good for asthmatics.
- Improvement in breathing techniques
- Physical exercises
- Cessation of smoking
- Weight control
- Adequate and good quality sleep
- We recently told you about the benefits of using salt lamps in your home, and remove asthma with the help of Himalayan salt lamp guide.
Use of psychosocial measures also doesn’t mean dealing with ‘mental illness’ or a psychological abnormality. An individual may not have satisfying relationships. This is an example of psychosocial. Not having satisfying relationships doesn’t mean the presence of mental illness. Similarly, some degrees of anxiety and depression, or even stress is psychosocial and not ‘mental illness’.
However, there are some asthma patients who have a psychological problem that is severe enough to be categorized as a psychological illness. Psychological illnesses commonly associated with asthma are depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and stress. A comprehensive management of asthma should include management of these psychological ‘illnesses’.
Those desirous of digging further shall do well by reading the article by Goodwin and colleagues (2007) published in American Journal of Epidemiology. They have found a clear association between lung function and mental health from a large pool of data collected during national health and nutritional examination survey of US.
- Depression is known to worsen asthma
- Anxiety and panic attacks can induce asthma
- Stress can induce asthma attacks. It is also a cofactor for allergy and infection.
- Relationships are valuable for an asthmatic
Please note that we are not medical doctors, and therefore we cannot give medical advice. The information presented within the article is not presented with the intention of diagnosing or treating any disease or condition, and we advise you to consult your doctor at all times if you are concerned with something. No responsibility is assumed by the author nor anyone connected with this website for the use of this information and no guarantees of any kind are made for the performance or effectiveness of the recommendations provided.