For Severe & Brittle Asthmatics
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What does this form of asthma really mean?
There is much written information on asthma, but only very little about brittle asthma which is a rare and sometimes severe form of asthma which can threaten the independence of individuals, their day to day life and their confidence as well as being life-threatening at times!
Symptoms of Brittle Asthma
All asthma sufferers have inflamed and constricted airways which cause a tightness in the chest as well as difficult breathing. These symptoms in brittle asthma sufferers are often chronic, severe and very difficult to treat as well as proving unresponsive to medicines and other treatments. Brittle asthmatics are also very susceptible to sudden and often unpredictable changes in their condition, and this is where the term 'brittle' is used.
Sufferers can fall into the following categories:
The Main Differences between Regular and Brittle
Unlike a Regular Asthmatic sufferer, a Brittle Asthmatic sufferer will have their own GP, Chest Consultants, and Respiratory Nurse over the course of many appointments and because of this, they will normally be the first to hear of any new advancements in asthma medicine and treatments.
Living with brittle asthma, whether you suffer with it or care for somebody that does, can be very challenging and at times, very frustrating and it was with this in mind that The Friends' Network was created by Lesley King.
Treatments for Brittle Asthma
Brittle Asthmatics may find they require larger doses of these Bronchodilators so many have their own nebuliser or have access to the use of one. A nebuliser is a machine that converts the liquid medicine into an easy inhaled mist by passing oxygen or air through tubing up to a face mask or mouth- piece via a medication chamber. This normally work from mains electricity or from a pre-charged battery pack. There are however. Ultrasonic nebulisers which use vibration instead of compressed air or oxygen to create the mist. The bronchodilators used in nebulisers are exactly the same as those found in the inhalers, but in much larger doses.
Some brittle asthma sufferers may also find that they require even more Bronchodilator therapy in the form of sub-cutaneous (under the skin) injections or infusion using a Syringe Driver and again all these Bronchodilators are the same.
Regular, long-acting treatment remains much the same as that used by many asthmatics. Steroids may be taken directly into the lungs via an inhaler:
Another alternative may be a slow release Bronchodilator such as:
The following are all taken as either short-acting or controlled-release tablets/capsules.
Oral Corticosteroids such as Prednisolone and Hydrocortisone can also be prescribed when they are required over and above the inhaled ones.
As time goes on, many new drugs are being tested and one of the latest daily treatments for asthma is a tablet called Montelukast Sodium (Singulair) and this has been on prescription for a while now and this has helped some asthmatics manage their condition more adequately.
In addition to prescribed medication many severe and brittle asthmatics help control their symptoms using treatments such as:
Most Brittle asthmatics will most probably have tried most treatments at some time or another and it is up to them and their medical team to find the best combination of medication and treatment for them.
The Treatment of Brittle Asthma in Hospital
One of the problems with brittle asthma sufferers is that they will usually end up being admitted into hospital, some now and then, but some on a more regular basis. This can be brought about by a sudden acute attack or a gradual deterioration of their condition and either of these symptoms will decide their treatment.
Every brittle asthma sufferer will try to lead as normal a life as is possible
Many brittle asthma sufferers will adapt well to living with their condition