Learning about asthma remission and management strategies can help you gain control of your condition and maintain better long-term health. As with any chronic medical disease, it is vital to understand its causes, treatments, and associated self-care procedures.
Asthma symptoms can negatively impact your daily life. But, it can go into remission with proper management and treatment. The goal of asthma remission and management strategies is to reduce the number of symptoms and frequency of attacks.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory lung condition that affects the airways and causes coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. Several environmental and genetic factors, such as exposure to allergens, respiratory infections, and air pollution, trigger it.
While these triggers are understood, researchers are unsure of the root cause of asthma. No cure exists for asthma. But there are long-term treatments that can help manage and reduce symptoms.
What Factors Contribute to the Development of Asthma?
The primary risk factors for developing asthma are:
Genetic Predisposition (having a family history of asthma)
Asthma tends to run in families. Children with a parent or sibling with asthma will likely have the condition. If the mother had asthma during pregnancy, the risk of the child having asthma is even higher.
Exposure to Environmental Pollutants
Air pollution, chemicals, dust mites, and other air particles can cause airway inflammation. Children raised in an area with high levels of air pollution are at an increased risk of developing asthma.
Infants frequently exposed to viral infections may have an increased risk of developing asthma compared to those who breathe clean air, likely due to their immature immune systems.
Complications from Chronic Illnesses
Children born with conditions such as cystic fibrosis have an increased risk of developing asthma than children without those conditions because the airway becomes hypersensitive to even the most common allergens. When exposed to these allergens, the airways begin to spasm.
Having Certain Allergies
Allergies to certain substances, such as pet dander or mold, often trigger asthma. Those who experience seasonal allergies also have an increased risk of developing asthma.
Secondhand Smoke Exposure
Exposure to secondhand smoke or other air pollutants increases the risk of asthma in children and adults.
Low Birth Weight and Being Born Prematurely
Studies show premature and low birth weight babies are 15 percent more likely to develop asthma than full-term babies.
Early Childhood Illness
Children with illnesses such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia are at an increased risk of developing asthma. Respiratory infections such as syncytial virus are common in childhood and can cause damage to developing lung tissue.
Wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted disparities in asthma? Check out Asthma Treatment Disparities Exposed During the COVID-19 Pandemic for more information.
Can Asthma Enter Remission?
Asthma is a chronic condition, meaning it does not go away on its own. However, you can achieve clinical remission. Clinical remission means that your asthma symptoms are under control and you have gone without any flare-ups or need for rescue medications in the past several months.
Your lungs seem to function normally, and your peak flow is between 80 to 100 percent. You may still need to take medications, but they are not as frequently required. Achieving clinical remission with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels, is possible.
What About Children That Outgrow Asthma?
Medical professionals generally agree that if a child’s asthmatic symptoms disappear completely as they grow older, it is unlikely that the child had asthma in the first place. They believe their respiratory complaints resulted from reactive airways triggered by allergens, pollutants, or other factors, which produced symptoms similar to those of childhood asthma.
Can Symptoms Return After Remission?
Remission can last for years, but it does not guarantee that symptoms will never return. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you could still have inflammation in the lung tissue.
Conditions such as a cold, allergies, or other respiratory illnesses can cause symptoms to flare up again. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders and take all medications as prescribed, even after achieving remission.
If you have asthma symptoms after a long period of remission, consult your doctor immediately to adjust your treatment plan.
Prevent the onset of asthma symptoms by avoiding known triggers.
What triggers each patient’s asthma can vary. Avoid those things that exacerbate your asthma symptoms. Create good long-term habits that will help you stay ahead of your health. Here are ways to prevent asthma.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is a known asthma trigger. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of getting asthma.
Reduce Exposure to Air Pollution
Exposure to air pollution can onset asthma symptoms and increase the risk of developing asthma. Avoid areas with high levels of air pollution and use a filter in your home to reduce indoor pollutants.
Maintain Good Health
Small things like weight and stress management can reduce the risk of asthma symptoms. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet to help keep your body strong.
Regular Medical Check-Ups
Regular visits to the doctor for check-ups can help keep your asthma under control. Your doctor can assess your condition and adjust medications to prevent flare-ups. Work with your doctor to develop an action plan and follow all instructions given.
Know When to See a Doctor
Know the three zones of the asthma action plan.
The green zone is the goal of your treatment plan. When you are in this zone, your asthma is under control. You can continue with everyday activities.
The yellow zone is a warning sign that your asthma symptoms may worsen. If you experience symptoms and use a quick-relief inhaler, but the symptoms don’t subside after 24 hours, seek immediate medical attention.
The red zone is an emergency sign that your asthma is not under control. If you experience difficulty breathing, chest tightness, or a prolonged coughing attack, seek immediate medical attention.
Curious about how access to care for asthma patients has impacted patient outcomes? Read Asthma Disparities Persist Despite Improves Insurance Coverage for more information.
You Have More Control Than You Realize
By following these steps, you can help to reduce the risk of asthma flare-ups and maintain remission. Work with your doctor to develop an action plan and follow all instructions given.
Practice healthy lifestyle habits to prevent asthma symptoms from returning. Remember that you have more control over your asthma than you realize. You can achieve and maintain asthma remission with proper treatment and effective lifestyle habits.