How Inhaled Steroids Help Cure Asthma
At least 1 in 20 adults and 1 in 10 children in India suffer from asthma. A condition where people find it difficult to breathe because the air tubes in their lungs become swollen, the symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. If asthma is not treated quickly, it can even lead to death.
Asthma may occur due to genetic reasons or due to exposure to allergens like dust, pollution, smoke, etc.
One of the most effective treatments for asthma in recent times is the use of inhaled steroids. Medically known as inhaled corticosteroids, these steroids reduce inflammation in the airways (bronchial tubes) that connect our nose to the lungs. They also help reduce the mucus, making breathing easier and obstruction-free.
Corticosteroids are nothing but a clone of the naturally produced steroids in our body. Due to the inhalation process, they work directly on the lungs and mainly in the airway. They are not absorbed by the body and, hence, there are fewer side-effects. Regular use can often keep asthma patients totally away from hospitalization.
In certain cases though, due to prolonged usage, inhaled steroids could lead to a few side-effects as mentioned below, but these can be easily overcome if proper precautions are followed:
- Sore throat
- Hoarse voice
- Throat infection
- Decreased bone thickness (only when used in high doses)
- Eye problems like cataract or glaucoma (only when used in high doses)
One must make sure to rinse the mouth after every intake in order to minimize the side-effects. Using a spacer device (an additional tube like device that slows down the delivery of medication) can also help.
A lot of people get confused between inhaled steroids and anabolic steroids that are used by athletes to boost their performance. Both are different. Inhaled steroids (corticosteroids) can actually be beneficial for those suffering from asthma and have minimal side-effects, unlike the steroids used by athletes.
In addition to using these steroids, some of the general practises that can help manage asthma effectively are:
- Getting proper sleep
- Exercising on a regular basis
- Completely avoiding smoking
- Following a balanced diet
- Staying away from allergens or triggers
Inhaled steroids are the most preferred treatment for mild or severe asthma in children and adults. It’s a myth that these steroids can be dangerous or addictive. Many people believe that using these can lead to weight gain but that’s false. The dosage used in the inhaler is in micrograms and is the least amount of medication used to control asthma. They are completely safe and medically approved.