Asthma and Sleep

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breathing difficult. People with asthma often suffer from nighttime coughing, wheezing and breathlessness that disturb their sleep.

TREATMENT:

There is no cure for asthma but it can be controlled. The goal of any asthma treatment plan is to minimize flare-ups and maintain normal or near- normal breathing and to participate in a full range of activities such as exercise and childhood play. In addition to modifications to lifestyle and self-directed disease management, most people with asthma use a combination of quick-fix and long-term medicinal remedies. It is important to note that sleep disturbance or insomnia is sometimes a side effect of asthma medication. Be sure to discuss any sleep problems that you or your child might be experiencing with your doctor.

The most effective long-term therapies for asthma are those that reduce swelling in the airway. The following medications are indicated for long term use by asthmatics to reduce airway swelling :

  • Inhaled steroids (e.g. Flovent, Pulmicort)
  • Inhaled cromolyn sodium (e.g. Intal)
  • Inhaled nedocromil sodium (e.g. Tilade)
  • Leukotriene modifier (e.g. Accolate, Singulair, Zyflo)
  • Long-lasting Beta2-Agonist) (e.g. Foradil, Serevent)

Inhaled quick relief medications relieve asthma symptoms right away quickly and last for a few hours. They include :

  • Inhaled short-acting Beta2-Agonists (e.g. Albuterol, Alupent, Maxair, Xopenex)
  • Anticholinergic (e.g. Atrovent, Combivent)
  • Steroid (e.g. Deltasone, Medrol, Orapred, Prelone, Pediapred)

COPING:

Most people with asthma are able to live a normal life and to participate in a full range of activities. In order to do this, however, asthma patients must take their medications as prescribed, be able to recognize and avoid things that may trigger an attack, and act quickly when asthma symptoms appear to be getting worse. Here are some tips for living with asthma:

  • Take medication at the prescribed time -- this is very important in managing asthma symptoms. Patients should work with their doctors to develop and maintain a medication regime that works best for them.
  • Use a peak flow meter* -- asthma patients should monitor their symptoms at all times. A peak flow monitor meter detects changes in lung function and warns patients of an impending asthma attack before they