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Long and Short-Term Treatment for Asthma Patients

Asthma belongs to chronic inflammatory disorders of airways that influence 6 % of U.S. citizens. Of this percentage, 4.8 million individuals are children. Each year nearly 500.000 hospitalizations and over 5.000 deaths are observed during hospital and outpatient care (Arcangelo & Peterson, 2013a). Ethical considerations of asthma are also involved because most asthmatic children are of African-American origin from 15 to 24 years (Arcangelo & Peterson, 2013a). To treat this disease, it is possible to refer to long-term control medications and quick-relief treatment. The former diminishes airway inflammation and suppresses asthma symptoms whereas the latter allows doctors to relieve the symptoms of the disease that prevent an asthma attack.

Long-term control medicine involves inhaled corticosteroids, cromolyn, omalizumab, and inhaled long-acting beta-agonists (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2007). Most patients suffering from asthma undergo long-term control treatment daily to reduce symptoms. The most efficient solution that can prevent airway inflammation and avert the emergence of new symptoms is carried out through these types of treatment; yet they do not provide immediate relief (Drugs.com, 2012). Inhaled corticosteroid is the most frequently used medication for long control of the disease (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2007).

It is also the best solution for receiving relief from inflammation, making the lungs sensitive to inhaled substances. Averting inflammation allows averting the chain of reactions leading to asthma symptoms. In this respect, patients take medicine to diminish the severity of the signs of the disease. Like other medications, corticosteroids can cause side effects, but their effectiveness outweighs the negative consequences. One of the most common side effects of taking medication is thrush, a mouth infection. If asthma conditions are severe, corticosteroids could be taken on a short-term basis.

As per quick-relief medications, inhaled short-acting beta-agonists are among the common substances that asthma patients take. This type of pill should be used at the preliminary stage of the disease symptoms. These medicines should not be used twice a week; otherwise, patients should consult with their doctors concerning the control rate of asthma (Arcangelo & Peterson, 2013a). Parents should take care of their children having asthma and make sure that the school they study at has quick-relief medicines and the relevant staff dealing with asthmatic children.

A stepwise approach is another popular method used for treating asthma among high-risk and impaired patients. The scope of this approach consists in delivering the dose of medication taken and its frequency following the severity of the disease. Hence, in case of complications, the dose could be increased and vice versa; if the signs of asthma are insignificant, the number of pills should be decreased (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2007).

This approach is beneficial because asthma is a chronic disease and, therefore, continuous control of symptoms and patients’ states is possible through changing dose and frequency parameters. Additionally, the stepwise approach encompasses four stages of care: evaluation of severity to introduce treatment or control management; patient training, environmental control approaches; monitoring of comorbid conditions at each stage; and medication choice (Arcangelo & Peterson, 2013b). The suggested approach is aimed at assisting rather than replacing the clinical decision-making to define the most efficient therapy to meet the patient’s needs. To control asthma effectively, it is essential to develop a specialized schedule that can allow patients to trace the intervals between times of medicine intake.

There are various recommendations provided per stepwise treatment for different age categories. Age differentiation is important because the disease can change over time. Children falling under the category of 0-4 years of age are recommended to reduce and risk of exacerbations for those who have more than four episodes of wheezing. The treatment should be considered for children who require symptomatic therapy and should take the medicine twice a week.

The further recommendation will depend on the symptoms and diagnoses. In particular, since asthma often occurs because of viral respiratory infections, children should undergo immediate hospitalization. Children at age 5-11 should undergo specialized physical training that can reduce the risks of symptoms recovery. Physical exercises can diminish the severity of asthma and reduce the amount of inhaled medicines. Finally, individuals over 11 years old can consider a short course of taking corticosteroids to ensure the reversibility and efficiency of asthma treatment.

Using a stepwise approach assists health care professionals in managing asthma treatment and control efficiently. It also permits them to define specialized groups of individuals that are at different stages of risk and impairments. The treatment can be distributed per age categories, gender, and special conditions, such as pregnancy. Knowledge of dose fluctuations for each category can provide professionals with much more accurate diagnoses and predictions.

Monitoring the frequency of medication-taking can also relieve a patient from dependence on the substance. Additionally, the proposed approach does not only imply the use of drugs, but also the development of a specialized set of physical exercises that can diminish the risk of relapses.

References

Arcangelo, V. P., & Peterson, A. M. (2013a). Asthma. In Arcangelo, V. P., & Peterson, A. M. (Eds.) Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach. (pp. 346-364) Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Arcangelo, V. P., & Peterson, A. M. (2013b). Upper Respiratory Infections. In Arcangelo, V. P., & Peterson, A. M. (Eds.) Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach. (pp. 332-345) Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Drugs. (2012). Web.

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2007). Expert panel report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Web.