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If you have asthma, you usually take inhaled medication, not pill form. This way of administering them is safer and gives better therapeutic effects, but only if you can inhale correctly. Check how to use a pressure and powder inhaler in the treatment of bronchial asthma.

The feeling of fighting for breath is well known to people suffering frombronchial asthma . We normally breathe unconsciously, without involving our awareness. We appreciate the importance of this activity when we suddenly run out of air. The main symptom of bronchial asthma is shortness of breath due to bronchospasm. But its essence is an advanced inflammatory process in the airways.

Two types of asthma medications

There are two types of medications used to treat asthma:

  • bronchodilators (beta2-mimetics);
  • anti-inflammatory (glucocorticosteroids, commonly known as steroids).

The former provide relief quickly, dilating the bronchial tubes at the onset of breathlessness. However, they don't treat asthma, they only work symptomatically. The mainstay of therapy are disease-controlling preparations, i.e. steroids. Only they are able to control the inflammatory process in the bronchi. Both types of drugs are usually inhaled, i.e. we breathe them from inhalers. It is not always necessary to use both types of drugs at the same time, but only a doctor can decide about it.

Meanwhile, it is not uncommon for patients to give up steroids themselves, fearing the undesirable effects of their action, and without them the therapy is ineffective. If you stop taking these medications, your inflammation will worsen.

Attacks of breathlessness are becoming more frequent, and therefore patients increase the doses of bronchodilators. This creates the risk that these preparations will no longer work. This situation is prevented by steroids.

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Rules for proper inhalation

They concern pressure and powder inhalers, which are used not only in bronchial asthma, but also in other lung diseases, e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchiectasis.

  • Clean the bronchi, expelling whatever is in them.
  • Breathe out deeply.
  • Place the mouthpiece of the inhaler in your mouth, pointing the end of the inhaler towards the back of your throat, towards the tongue. The mouthpiece you needclose your lips tightly, it should lie flat on your tongue.
  • Take a deep breath. If you are using the pressurized inhaler, start by pressing the button to release the medicine from the canister at the same time (note: it has to be facing upwards). When using the powder dispenser, prepare a dose of medicine before inhaling. Inhale should be slow or fast, depending on the type of device, but always deep.
  • Remove the mouthpiece (this applies to most inhalers) and hold the air in your lungs for about 10 seconds.
  • Blow out the air with your mouth. Take it slowly as the drug is deposited on the walls of the bronchi as you exhale.
  • Rinse your mouth to remove any trapped drug particles so that they do not leak into your blood. Such treatment is required in the case of inhaled steroids, and recommended in the case of other drugs.

Treatment of bronchial asthma: inhaled medications are more effective

In the case of asthma, the use of inhalation medications is preferable because they are more effective and safer. They only work at the injection site, i.e. in the bronchi. They do not reach the bloodstream and pass through the liver, kidneys and other organs, which reduces the risk of side effects.

Due to the fact that they are administered topically, directly to the bronchial wall, they contain much smaller (up to 1000 times) doses of the active substance than their counterparts in tablets. This is of great importance because asthma is an incurable ( although curable) disease, so you usually need to take medication for the rest of your life.

Therefore, their minimal doses reduce the risk of negative effects of long-term pharmacotherapy. Therapy with inhalation drugs, however, places great demands on both the doctor and the patient. The former must select the appropriate drugs and their doses, the latter learn the correct inhalation technique. Your doctor should give you a short lesson on how to use the inhaler.

Treatment of bronchial asthma: which inhaler to choose?

Most patients use small pressurized or dry powder inhalers that fit in a pocket.

The first ones can be used immediately at any time. Their disadvantage is the need to coordinate the onset of inspiration with drug intake. If the two are not synchronized, too little of the drug will go to the bronchi, and may not even reach them at all. A common mistake made by users of pressurized inhalers is also to inhale briefly and expel air too quickly.

When using powder inhalers, you do not need to coordinate the start of inhalation with the release of the drug. Its dose is prepared before startinginhalation (e.g. by inserting a capsule into the device or by moving a lever). The preparation is in the form of a powder that must be drawn in from the cavity connected to the mouthpiece while inhaling. Powder inhalers are easier to use. But there is also a problem here. The patient must have enough strength to inhale the drug particles and carry them to the bronchi. With advanced asthma, weak respiratory muscles, and neurological disorders, it is not able to do this. In this situation, electric nebulizer inhalers are the best solution. By using them, the patient simply breathes calmly with the aerosol containing the drug. Such devices are used not only for the administration of various pharmaceuticals, but also for the rehabilitation of the respiratory tract. They moisturize them, cleanse of secretions. Unfortunately, they cannot be carried with you.

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