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Causes and Treatment Options for Severe Asthma
Causes and Treatment Options for Severe Asthma

An inflammatory lung condition which affects the passage of your lungs is called asthma. This condition is usually a chronic inflammation in the passage of the lungs. The airways of the lungs become narrow and start to swell, which in turn produce some extra mucus. This excess mucus makes it difficult for you to breath in a normal way and that will trigger wheezing, coughing and causes shortness of breath.

For some people, an asthma attack is not a big problem as this does not disrupt their normal life. But for some people, asthma attacks are very common and that causes a problem in their daily activities as well. When you keep neglecting the problem of asthma, it can even become life-threatening as well. Proper treatments for severe asthma are very important and have to be done as quickly as possible. This is a condition which cannot be cured completely, but you need to make sure that you take proper treatment in order to control its symptoms and triggers.

Causes of severe asthma
The main and exact cause of asthma is not known, but there are many causes that trigger asthma. Based on the causes of asthma, the treatments for severe asthma are decided by the doctor. Some of the causes include:

  • Excessive smoking
  • Environmental factors like polluted air
  • Inhaling some chemical or sprays to which you are allergic
  • Breathing allergens like mold, animal dander, and dust
  • Flu, cold, bronchitis or sinusitis and other upper respiratory infections
  • Emotional stress
  • Exposure to dry and cold weather
  • Too much exercise

Symptoms of severe asthma:
The symptoms of severe asthma are more like mild to moderate asthma, but they are more intense and sometimes they are life-threatening as well. Some of the symptoms of severe asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath, which worsens with time
  • Tight and painful chest
  • A severe cough
  • Even after breathing treatment, the wheezing continues
  • Difficult in speaking at a stretch
  • Lips, fingernails, and face turn into blue color or pale yellow
  • Even after using an inhaler, little change is observed in a severe asthma attack
  • Difficulty in doing everyday activates

Treatment options for an asthma attack
Generally, it is termed as severe asthma just because it does not respond to any kind of treatments for severe asthma or medicine that is prescribed by the doctor. This is also known as Therapy Resistant Asthma.

Some of the available treatments for severe asthma attack when it is severe include:

  • Corticosteroids in a higher dose
  • Nebulizer inhalation
  • Long Acting Beta Agonists (LABA)
  • Oral Corticosteroids

These medicines can be taken alone or along with other medicines that can help in controlling the symptoms of severe asthma attacks.

Change in lifestyle is also one of the often suggested treatments for severe asthma. The changes in lifestyle include:

  • Try to avoid getting exposed to chemicals to which you are allergic.
  • If you are overweight, opt for weight loss programs, but ensure that you do not lose overnight but steadily and in a healthy manner.
  • Do not smoke when you are having an asthma problem. Reduced smoking won’t help; rather it should be a complete NO to smoking.
  • Alcohol consumption is a big NO in asthma cases.

Asthma action plan
For patients seeking treatments for severe asthma, it is always good to work out a plan with the doctor. Your doctor will check your complete health condition and severity of asthma. Based on those details, if required, certain tests will be conducted. Based on the reports, your doctor will provide you with a complete plan about how to control severe asthma attacks. It is extremely important to make this plan with a doctor as severe asthma does not react to medicine quickly and that can lead to life-threatening problems for the patients. Make sure that you always carry a rescue inhaler along with you, all the time.

Asthma attacks are often life-threatening for those suffering from severe asthma. Identifying the symptoms early and chalking out a plan of action with your medical professional accordingly could be a head start in the process of controlling the issue. Getting the required treatments for severe asthma is an important step which should not be neglected at any cost.

Small steps in your daily routine can go a long way for you to lead a comfortable life, where asthma might be your content companion, but with significantly reduced severity.

Home remedies for asthma
While home remedies help ease symptoms, they are not effective for asthma attacks. Some of these include inhalation of essential oils like eucalyptus and lavender. Both bring down the inflammation induced from allergies, which helps enhance breathing.

Another remedy is to try the Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT), which focuses on breathing out from the nose. It raises carbon-dioxide levels, which helps reduce asthma symptoms. Moreover, certain dietary changes like drinking caffeinated tea or coffee, eating garlic, ginger, honey, fish, and flax seeds (for omega-3) may also be helpful.

Omalizumab: Eosinophilic asthma treatment
It is best to try natural remedies alongside prescribed medication for asthma. Omalizumab (Xolair) is a monoclonal antibody that improves the symptoms of eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EG). This is a condition that results in an increase of eosinophils (a type of white blood cells) in the blood and gut tissue mainly due to environmental allergies. Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is an antibody that initiates allergic reactions that flare asthma.

In 2003, FDA approved the omalizumab medication since it worked against IgE for allergic asthma patients who were 12 years or older. Patients need to undergo blood or skin tests to understand if they have allergies to receive the omalizumab injection. Precise dose and frequency depend on IgE levels, body weight, and severity.

Reslizumab: Eosinophilic asthma treatment
Reslizumab (Cinqair) is another medication used to reduce severe asthma attacks. It is an immunomodulator medicine taken alongside regular asthma medication to reduce eosinophils. It is typically prescribed for four weeks as an intravenous injection for about an hour.

Other medications
Mepolizumab (Nucala), a medicine that brings down the level of blood eosinophils may also be prescribed for the same duration.
Doctors may also recommend corticosteroid, an anti-inflammatory medication in combination with a beta-agonist medicine known as bronchodilator like theophylline. Long-acting anticholinergics like tiotropium bromide (Spiriva Respimat) to relax or enlarge lung airways may also be prescribed.