In order to understand medicine for asthma better it is important to take a look at the different types of asthma medications and how they improve asthma symptoms. To understand what the medication does to the body it is good to know what symptoms occur when a person has an asthma attack.
Most of the symptoms a person experiences while having an asthma attack are related to what is going on in the airways in the lungs. Something usually triggers the asthma attack, usually an allergen or irritant such as pollen, a pollutant, harsh chemical smell, exhaust fume, dust particles or pet dander. The airway responds to the allergen or irritant by becoming inflamed which causes the airway to get smaller, making it more difficult to move air in and out of the lungs. The inflamed airways can lead to a feeling of tightness in the chest, chest pain or discomfort can also be felt during an asthma attack. The person is usually coughing or experiencing shortness of breath.
The purpose of most asthma medications is to open up the airways so the person can breathe easier. Other medications that may be given will reduce the reaction that the body has to the asthma trigger. If the person has allergies an antihistamine or decongestant will be prescribed.
Asthma medications are either long-term control in nature or are quick-relief asthma medications designed to bring an asthma attack under control quickly so the person can breathe more easily. The exchange of air in and out of the lungs is critical to life so a chronic asthmatic must always carry quick-relief asthma medication with them at all times.