It is not normal to experience frequent or persistent breathlessness. This indicates poor asthma control and is a risk factor for severe attacks. Consult your doctor if this occurs frequently or if you get breathless easily, to see how your asthma can be better controlled.
The frequent and cumulative use of oral steroids like prednisolone can lead to side effects such as diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis and weight gain. Oral steroids are typically prescribed as a short course treatment for asthma attacks that do not improve with inhaled treatment alone.
Conversely, inhaled steroids in preventer inhalers are very safe, even when used long-term, because they are deposited directly in the airways with minimal absorption into the blood circulation. Inhaled steroids also help to suppress airway inflammation and prevent asthma attacks so that oral steroids do not have to be used at all.
Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be well-controlled, so patients can lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Patients are encouraged to take their preventer inhaler regularly, avoid triggers such as environmental pollutants, quit smoking and follow their written asthma action plan.
Those with asthma are also strongly encouraged to have their COVID-19 and yearly influenza vaccinations.
Suppressing airway inflammation is essential for good asthma control. Although Salbutamol or Ventolin inhalers (also known as rescue or reliever inhalers) help to open up airways and temporarily relieve symptoms, they do not suppress airway inflammation at all. In fact, the excessive use of these rescue medications increases the risks of attacks and even death due to asthma.
Preventer inhalers (also known as controller or maintenance inhalers), on the other hand, reduce inflammation in the airways and are the most important part of treatment for the condition. Patients should use their preventer inhalers regularly as prescribed to improve symptoms and prevent asthma attacks or death.
While the exact causes of asthma are not known, it is likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including a family history of the condition, smoking, obesity, childhood viral airway infections, or allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis and eczema. Some common triggers include common colds, environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, dust mites and exercise. Triggers differ from person to person and usually pose less of a problem when the asthma is well-controlled.
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