Air in the lungs travel through small airways called bronchial tubes. When the airways are clear, air moves in and out of the lungs easily. An asthma attack constricts the airways and interferes with the normal breathing process.
Asthma is a respiratory condition in which the airways of the lungs (breathing passages) narrow and swell, often in response to an allergen. This disease affects people of all ages, but usually starts in childhood. The common signs and symptoms of asthma include:
- Frequent cough
- Wheezing sound heard during breathing
- Shortness of breath and coughing
- Feeling of tightness in the chest
- Pain in the chest
Treatment of asthma includes prevention of symptoms and treatment of progressive asthma attacks. Your allergist may also prescribe two main types of medications, long- term control medications and quick- relief medications. Long-term medications that can be taken every day help reduce airway inflammation and prevent the asthma symptoms. Quick-relief medications provide rapid relief from symptoms during an asthma attack.
Inhaled short- and long-term control medications are used by inhaling measured amounts of the medication through inhalation devices. The most common is the metered dose inhaler that uses a chemical propellant to carry the correct dose of medication out of the inhaler. Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) do not use propellants but need a stronger and faster inhalation. A nebulizer is a type of inhaler that delivers medications in a fine mist through mouthpieces or masks.