Types of Asthma
Asthma causes periods of chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing.
There are two types of asthma -- allergic and non-alergic
- Allergic asthma is triggered by inhaled allergens such as dust, pollen, mold, etc.
- Non-allergic asthma is not triggered by an allergic reaction but instead by other factors including anxiety, stress, exercise, cold air, smoke, viruses and other irritants.
Five to ten percent of asthma patients are diagnosed with severe asthma. People with severe asthma have frequent asthma attacks and symptoms that are not well-controlled despite taking daily medications.
When you live with asthma, you learn to work around the condition and many people don't realize when their asthma has become severe. If one or more of the following statements is true of your experience with asthma, your asthma may be considered severe:
- You take daily medication but your asthma is still uncontrolled
- You've visited the ER or been hospitalized for respiratory related symptoms
- You are currently taking predisone in addition to your asthma medication
- You have symptoms throughout the day and are waking up at night
- You have to limit your daily activities because of your asthma
Talk to your doctor to see if your asthma may be severe, and if BT may be right for you as a treatment option for severe asthmas that is not well controlled. To find out how much asthma impacts your quality of life, take a free, confidential assessment.
Treatments for Asthma
The first step in treating asthma is to avoid asthma triggers whenever possible.
Short-term medications known as short-acting beta-agonist bronchodilators or rescue inhalers relax tight muscles in the airway, are used when symptoms occur and may offer up to 4-6 hours of relief. ProAir™ HFA is a common rescue inhaler.
Long-term asthma medications are taken daily to reduce inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms. Long-term control medications include:
Inhaled Corticosteroids help control narrowing and inflammation by reducing airway inflammation and mucus production making it easier to breathe. Some common inhaled corticosteroids used for the maintenance treatment of asthma include: Flovent™ HFA and Pulmicort Flexhaler™.
Bronchodilators relax airway smooth muscle to reduce the risk of asthma attacks and offer lasting relief of symptoms. Long-acting beta agonists (LABA) are used for maintenance of asthma and provide relief up to 12 hours. Bronchodilators reverse or inhibit airway constriction and related symptoms of acute asthma. Some common long-acting beta-agonist bronchodilators include: Advair™ FHA, and Dulera™, which are for people whose asthma is not well controlled on long-term asthma control medication, such as inhaled corticosteroid.
Treatments for Severe Asthma
As asthma symptoms increase, the dosage level and nuber of maintenance asthma medications prescribed may be increased to reach an acceptable level of control. Patients with severe asthma usually have more sympoms and therefore take higher doses as well as more types of medications than do asthma pateitns with mild or moderate asthma.
Oral corticosteroids, such as predisone, when used for maintenanace, are reserved for patients with severe asthma. Long-term use of these medications can cause serious side effects.
For those with moderate to severe persistent allergic asthma, allergy short (biologics) may be effective in reducing symptoms caused by an allergen. Allergy shots are usually given in small doses initially and then increased over time.
Omalizumab is an anti-IgE biologic also known as Xolair™, is sometimes used to treat asthma triggered by airborne allergens. Other common biologics are Nucala® and Cinqair™, which are add-on, prescription maintenance treatments for patients with severe asthma, eosinophiliic type. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that may contribute to asthma.
Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) is for severe persistent asthma patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists. BT is a minimally invasive procedure that suses mild heat to reduce airway smooth muscle leading to fewer severe asthma attacks and ER visits.
Information concerning asthma, severe asthma, and possible treatment options for asthma contained on this website, including text, graphics, images, and other material (“Content”) are for general information purposes only, and do not constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
The Alair™ Bronchial Thermoplasty System is indicated for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists.
As with any procedure, there are risks, and individual results may vary. The most common adverse event of BT is a temporary worsening of respiratory-related symptoms. These events typically occur within one day of the BT procedure and usually resolve within a week with standard care. There is a small risk (3.4% per procedure) that symptoms may require hospitalization.1