To properly diagnose asthma, a physician will take your medical history and conduct a physical exam that includes special attention to your ears, eyes, nose, throat, skin, chest and lungs. A lung function test can detect possible limitations in your breathing, and, in some cases, you may need additional tests, such as a chest or sinus X-ray.
Asthma does not have to put major limits on your life. There are many things that you can do to take control of your asthma and minimize its impact on your activities. For example, you can remove or avoid those things in your environment that you know that make your asthma worse. If these measures are not enough, you may have to take medications that are available to control symptoms.
Asthma medications may be either inhaled or in pill form and are divided into two types—quick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines are used to control the immediate symptoms of an asthma episode. In contrast,long-term control medicines do not provide relief right away, but rather help to lessen the frequency and severity of episodes over time.
There are two groups of asthma medications:
Combined therapy medicine (inhaled) contains both a controller and reliever medicine. This combination of a long-acting bronchodilator and corticosteroid is used for long-term control.
Anti-IgE therapy (injected) is a new treatment for people with moderate or severe allergic asthma. It attempts to stop allergic asthma at its root cause instead of just treating asthma symptoms. Due to its significant cost, this form of therapy is currently reserved for moderate to severe cases requiring multiple medications.