Asthma is a chronic and common inflammatory disease of the airways. If you have asthma, the airways of your lungs swell, narrow and produce extra mucus. Some patients have minor asthma that’s managed with occasional use of an inhaler, while others may need daily medication or experience a life-threatening asthma attack. Seeing a local family physician and gettinga referal to a Respirologists
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Dr. Daniel Ngui, BSc (P.T), MD, CFPC, FCFP, Family Physician, discusses Asthma and Understanding Medication Treatments
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Colin Holyk, BSc (Pharm) Pharmacist, discusses Asthma and COPD Treatment With Inhalers
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Debra Treloar, BSR, FCAMPT, Physiotherapist, discusses breathing & physiotherapy.
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Colin Holyk, BSc (Pharm) Pharmacist, discusses peak flow meters.
How is Asthma Treated ?
So it’s very important you speak to your family physician about asthma. What do we know is that the World Health Organization estimates there are a hundred million patients around the world suffering from asthma? It’s a big problem in Canada and we think that 50 children or 200 adults die each year from asthma related conditions in Canada. In the US, there are estimates of 11 people dying per day from asthma flare ups.
Asthma affects everything and every aspect In fact, it’s the leading cause of absenteeism from school and the third leading cause for missing work. The goal of asthma self-management is know when to ask for help.
There are specific symptoms that one can look for if you’re having an asthma flare up. And the role of your physician, your nurse, your pharmacist is to teach you about that. Studies have shown that written action plans improve the ability for patients to self manage their disease.
If you have any questions or any concerns it’s very important to that you make an appointment to speak to your family physician or local expert. Treatments may vary according to patient and according to physician. So once again, make an appointment to speak to your doctor. Presenter: Dr. Daniel Ngui, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC
Local Practitioners: Family Doctor
Asthma and COPD Treatment With Inhalers
Regarding patients who have difficulties with breathing - perhaps they’re asthmatic or they are COPD patients - there’s a number of different inhalers available to help them with their breathing. The first type of inhaler would be a bronchodilator inhaler, and the bronchodilator inhalers are used to basically open up the airways to the lung, to get more air in and out of the lung. That would be a style of the bronchodilator.
A second kind of medication by inhaler is a straight corticosteroid, and these medications are used to reduce the inflammation and swelling in the lung and reduce the secretions of mucous in the lung to allow better air exchange in the lung.
The third type of an inhaler is actually one that is a combination and this contains a corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation and swelling, and also a long-acting bronchodilator which is used on a regular basis so it’s a two-in-one combination.
So the bronchodilator inhaler would be a benefit for patients who have been recently diagnosed with some breathing difficulties, or if they’ve had a cold or a flu and they’ve had some breathing difficulties.
It’s also used for patients with exercise-induced asthma, prior to exercising, if they take a dose of this medication it will help open up their airways. For patients who have a longer standing difficulty with breathing the doctor may prescribe a steroid medication, a corticosteroid, and use that sometimes in addition to the bronchodilator.
The corticosteroid will help reduce the inflammation and swelling in the lung. The patient might still require the bronco bronchodilator for what we call rescue, for their breathing, to open up the airways.
The third type of medication that we described is a combination of the long-acting bronchodilator and the steroid.
So you’re getting the benefit of reduced inflammation and swelling in the lung tissue. You’re getting the benefit of a long acting bronchodilator to keep the airways open, and patients might be on that. They also may still require that short acting bronco just to open up the airways if they’re acutely in trouble. Often seeing a local family physician or a physiotherapist in conjunction with a registered dietitian and local pharmacist is a great option to take control of this condition. Smart Food Now and exercise is also important for overall health.
Presenter: Mr. Colin Holyk, Pharmacist, Vancouver, BC
Local Practitioners: Pharmacist
Peak Flow Meters
For patients with difficulty breathing a great way of monitoring their breathing is with a peak flow meter, and they can do this at home. There are a number of different peak flow meters available on the market – this is one of them – and I’ll just show it to you here. They’re very easy to use which is great and you can do it at home.Often seeing a local family physician or a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition. Physiotherapy and exercise is also optimal for overall health.
The key thing here is there’s a little measuring device here which determines how much air is being blown through the device, and that gives you an idea of your breathing rate. The best way of using this is to make sure that the reading is at zero.
Presenter: Mr. Colin Holyk, Pharmacist, Vancouver, BC
Now Health Network Local Practitioners: Pharmacist