Asthma is often associated with allergies, but not all individuals suffering from asthma also suffer from allergies. Asthma commonly begins during childhood and can be continue through to adulthood. However, all individuals are at risk for developing asthma at any age, and, it has been discovered that in boys rather than girls are more likely to suffer from asthma while the reverse is true in adulthood. According to a USA Today article, approximately 5,300 people die from asthma complications each year and it is the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in America, costing nearly $9.8 billion annually.
Signs and Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma can be considered a serious risk to oneís health if left untreated, however, millions of adults as well as children can live comfortable with asthma as long as appropriate treatment is sought and discussed with a health professional.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of asthma is the first step in overcoming the disease that can cause death in extreme cases. Symptoms of asthma include:
* coughing, especially during the evenings causing sleep difficulties when breathing, asthma victims often have wheezing breaths that may sound as if they are whistling or squeaking
* chest tightness
* shortness of breath as well as struggling to breath
* faster than normal breathing
* very noisy breathing
Additionally, symptoms often vary from individual to individual; some asthma suffers will have severe symptoms while others will only notice a slight to mild discomfort. It is important for a patient of asthma to note several things that a doctor will likely inquire about to better diagnose their asthma. Recording what time of year/season a coughing fit occurs, what causes symptoms to worsen, family history of asthma/allergies, chest colds and which medications alleviate asthma symptoms.
There are an array of treatments for asthma that can be divided into two categories including quick relief and long relief medications. Quick relief medications are commonly prescribed to all asthma sufferers as a rescue medication to halt an asthma attack or asthma symptoms before a condition becomes uncontrollable. Usually short asthma treatments consist of inhalers that cause the airways to open up and relax the muscles, which are causing the asthma attack, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Long relief medications commonly consist of a form of steroids such as corticosteroids and come in the form of a tablet or liquid. Physicians often prescribe long term asthma treatments for those with mild, moderate and severe asthma, according to the NHLBI. Other various types of long-term asthma treatments include:
* long acting and inhaled beta-agonists, which are used with * corticosteroid medications
* leukotriene modifiers that treats mild persistent asthma and can treat moderate to severe asthma when combined with corticosteriods
* cromolyn and nedocromil
Seeking Help for Asthma Treatment Complications
As more asthma treatments become associated with risky side effects, it can be difficult to determine the best asthma treatment, especially among children. One of the most recent asthma drugs linked to severe side effects is that of Singulair (montelukast). Singulair, from the manufacturers Merck, was released for public use in 1998. It has most recently been under investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after reports surfaced in March 2008 that the drug was causing unusual side effects among patients, including children. The side effects included:
* suicidal thoughts
* irregular or suicidal behaviors
In addition to these side effects, Singulair, which falls under the leukotriene modifiers/receptors as a long term asthma treatment, has also been associated with the following side effects, according to the Patient Product Information pamphlet from Merck:
* stomach or intestinal upset/pain
* upper respiratory infection
Patients suffering from asthma who have taken Singulair may be at risk for any of these side effects, however, those who have taken the drug and who are showing signs of suicidal thoughts and actions should seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, consulting with an experienced pharmaceutical attorney may offer assistance in developing a Singulair lawsuit.
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Article Added on Saturday, April 18, 2009
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