with asthma can
lead a normal,
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the lung
airways. When exposed to certain allergy triggers, the airways
become swollen and narrow,
causing the symptoms of asthma.
People with asthma suffer terribly for an average of three to
five days during each acute
attack, when their asthma
In fact, there are about 20
asthmatic episodes experienced
per adult per year. This may not
sound like a lot, but for an asthma patient, it can be quite debilitating. Her daily activities are
disrupted because of these
attacks and she has to spend
time in hospital.
Why do these attacks occur?
Inflamed and narrow airways
lead to coughing, wheezing,
chest tightness and labored
breathing. Inflamed airways are
the root cause of the problem.
Unfortunately, most people with
asthma neglect to treat the
inflammation, even if it's what
the doctor ordered.
Most people with asthma
recognize asthma symptoms and experience warning signs before the actual attack
occurs. But the problem is that they tend to rely heavily on the blue
reliever inhaler, to the extent of neglecting the maintenance inhaler.
What people with asthma
need to understand is that both
the maintenance and reliever
inhaler are needed for proper
They both have specific functions and one cannot compensate for the other, which is why
many who rely solely on the
blue reliever inhaler don't notice
an improvement in their condition.
The maintenance inhaler
treats the underlying inflammation, and should be used on a
daily basis for prevention purposes. The blue reliever inhaler
is only used when needed --
usually when the airways
become narrow -- to provide fast
It is important to remember
that the blue reliever inhaler
does not treat inflammation,
and over-relying on it will do
nothing to help control asthma.
Proper asthma management
requires that sufferers use both
inhalers, because treating
inflammation is a necessary step
in controlling asthma in order to
prevent asthma attacks.
Many patients fail to understand the importance of using both the
inhalers as part of their asthma management. Many can't tell the difference
between the functions of inhalers of different colors, and using multiple inhalers becomes confusing
If the root of the problem lies
in inflamed airways, then the
solution is to prevent or control
The key to proper asthma
management and prevention of
attacks is to treat the underlying
airway inflammation early and
adequately. People with asthma
should consult their physicians
on the best way to treat their
Today's respiratory physicians, referring to the Global
Initiative for Asthma guidelines,
would treat asthma patients
based on control rather than
The latest approach to asthma
management is known as the
Single inhaler Maintenance And
Reliever Therapy - simply
known as SMART. With SMART,
people with asthma use just one
inhaler, because it provides both
the daily maintenance dose and
reliever use if needed.
The new inhaler is easily
identified by its colour -- a red turbuhaler -- which differentiates it from the other inhalers
used currently. And having to
rely on just one inhaler means
people with asthma would not
get confused, as they did in the
Extensive clinical research has
been done for this new
approach. Worldwide, more
than 14,000 patients, including
Malaysians, participated in the
SMART clinical development program.
The results showed that
SMART provided better overall
asthma control and helped
reduce the risk and number of
serious asthma attacks.
With the SMART approach,
people with asthma can look
forward to fast relief, better
asthma control and an improved
quality of life in the long term.
People with asthma can follow
some simple actions to control
• Consult your doctor first --
only after the correct diagnosis
can the most appropriate asthma management therapy be recommended, tailored specifically
to the patient.
• Stay alert to your asthma
symptoms -- know your symptoms well and listen to your body. Act immediately to
control your asthma.
• Understand your medicines --
heed your doctor's advice on
asthma medications, and when
to take them.
• Avoid asthma triggers -- asthma is a variable disease; many things can
trigger an attack, so be alert to what triggers your attacks. Is it cigarette
smoke, dust, pollution, pet hair,
medication or certain foods?
Don't let your asthma, control
you -- you can control your asthma.