Asthma is a debilitating illness that targets a person’s respiratory system. It leaves them short of breath due to how the airways swell, causing them to become narrow for breathing. As to how common it is, 1 in 13 people suffers from this condition.
Among the treatments available for people afflicted with asthma, inhalers stand out as one of the most important. They work out as life-savers due to their portability and effectiveness. With different types of inhalers available, it helps to know how each one functions.
Today, we will look at these types of inhalers. We will explore how they operate and how you can find the best one for you.
What are Inhalers?
Inhalers provide people with asthma a means to help counter its symptoms. These medications relax the muscle bands to provide air an easier passage in and out of the lungs. In the case of an asthma attack, inhalers help the afflicted by helping the muscles open up the airways for easier breathing.
The medication used with inhalers tends to vary. They treat conditions and symptoms connected to the narrowing airways. This could also pertain to other respiratory problems aside from asthma.
For instance, you have bronchodilators. These types of medication focus on opening narrowed airways for easier breathing.
You also have corticosteroids. These focus on reducing the swelling and inflammation in these areas that contribute to the shortness of breath.
Some people use inhalers for other forms of respiratory problems. For instance, people with persistent cough or bronchitis would find themselves using an inhaler. For these forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they use a different set of medications that would use inhalers for an easier intake.
A Glimpse at Asthma
Inhalers and nebulizers come into the picture to treat the respiratory condition known as asthma. Due to how common this is, it would be best to also note the risk factors that can bring a person to contract it. One thing to remember is how it can be dangerous when this combines with the flu.
What are the strongest risk factors for a person to develop asthma? This would be due to a combination of genetics and environment.
Exposure to substances and particles may end up triggering allergic reactions. These reactions may lead to the inflammation of air passageways. This makes it hard for a person to breathe properly.
These allergens are as follows:
- Indoor allergens (such as dust mites)
- Outdoor allergens (such as pollen and mold.)
- Chemical irritants
- Air Pollution
- Tobacco Smoke.
Aside from these, you also have other possible triggers for asthma. Among these include the cold weather, physical exercise, and extreme emotional distress. Certain medications can also trigger these, such as aspirin or medication designed to treat blood pressure and heart conditions.
Managing asthma becomes an imperative matter. It is not lethal on its own when compared to other pulmonary diseases. Even so, it can still prove fatal when left untreated.
To avoid this, medications to address the symptoms allow people afflicted with asthma to control them. Combining this with avoiding asthma triggers can help with their quality of life.
Types of Inhalers (Quick vs Long-Acting)
Inhalers come in different variants. Each one has a different function and purpose in addressing the symptoms brought by asthma. To that effect, this also includes the type of medication used to meet the inhaler’s intended purpose.
You have inhalers focused on providing quick relief. These tend to be the fast-acting variants that help in relieving acute asthma attacks.
It finds its use in emergencies due to its quick release. Quick-relief inhalers also work as a means to prepare the airways before exercising.
You also have inhalers focused on providing control over asthma. With these, you have a setup where the medication aims to control the symptoms.
The Difference Between Inhalers and Nebulizers
The function that these two treatments may be similar. The difference between the two is rather distinct.
In this case, it encompasses the type of medication used and the devices that administer them. Here is how you distinguish the two.
Inhalers come in the form of a handy device. In this case, you have a mouthpiece and a receptacle for the medication to connect in. With it, a person can squeeze the inhaler to take in a puff and have the medication do the work.
What makes this interesting is that the substance in use would depend on the type of inhaler. It can either come as a fluid that gets inhaled in aerosol form. The other would be in dry powder form, which may require some effort in taking in.
A nebulizer provides a different approach with its device. These tend to run either on electricity or battery power.
The machine uses the liquid medication and turns it into a fine mist. The patient inhales this mist into their lungs.
Nebulizers tend to be rather noisy and bulky, as most of these would need a power outlet to run. Despite its size, it comes in varying shapes and sizes. It also comes with masks or mouthpieces for use in administering the treatment.
Compared to inhalers, the patient only needs to stay in place and let the nebulizer do the work. It usually takes five to ten minutes to administer.
Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs)
First, we have the metered-dose inhalers, also known as MDIs. As implied by the name, it provides a measured dosage of the medication. Made possible due to the pressurized canister that holds the medication inside it.
In its appearance, it comes in the form of a canister integrated with a mouthpiece for inhaling. When used, it sprays out the fluid into a mist that passes through the mouthpiece. This allows for an easy intake of the lungs.
What makes them attractive is the convenience they offer. It is a portable treatment that you can bring while letting it sit inside your pocket. When you need it, you can take it out and take a dose.
One of its notable drawbacks is the lack of a dosage counter. This makes it hard to track how many puffs you can still make before replacing the canister.
Steps in Using an MDI
Using an inhaler such as this one is notably easy. In case you are not sure of how this works, follow these steps to use an MDI properly.
First, start by removing the cap. After which, hold the inhaler in an upright position. In case your doctor recommends you use a spacer, go for it as it can also protect your throat from irritation.
Make sure that you are either standing or seated upright before shaking the inhaler. When ready, press the inhaler to release the dose. After which, breathe slowly and take the medicine in.
During this phase, breathe in slowly for about 3-5 seconds. This way, the medication can settle after intake. Wait for at least a minute before taking your second puff.
Dry Powder Inhalers (DPI)
The next variant of inhalers that you would encounter is the dry powder variants. Compared to the MDI, a dry powder inhaler is a type of inhaler that uses a breath-activated medication. Administering the dose would have the user take a fast and deep breath to take it in.
DPIs tend to come in different variants when it comes to how many doses they can hold. Some can hold as much as 200 doses in one DPI. Meanwhile, you also have DPIs that use a single dose, letting you fill them using a capsule before use.
When compared to the MDI, a DPI offers ease of use. It also causes fewer irritant effects, when you look at the usage.
Its notable downside is in how patients end up developing poor inhalation techniques. This is after the continued use of DPIs.
Another notable downside is how DPIs would be far more effective without spacers. This becomes a problem for patients that take in large doses. Either way, consult a doctor to know the recommended dosage in using DPIs.
Steps in Using a DPI
For a DPI, you always start with removing the cap. Though this is if there is a cap on it. After which, apply the dose as per the doctor’s recommendation.
Once you have the medication loaded in the inhaler, hold the inhaler away from your mouth. While the inhaler is out of range, breathe out. It is an imperative point to not breathe out into the inhaler or you might end up blowing out some of the powder.
When ready, place the inhaler’s mouthpiece in your mouth. After which, inhale quickly through your mouth for 2 or 3 seconds. Upon finishing the inhalation, take the inhaler out of your mouth.
From that point, hold your breath for 10 seconds. Let the medicine settle. After which, follow the doctor’s prescription about taking the second dose.
Soft Mist Inhalers (SMI)
Another variant that you would encounter among inhalers is the SMI. Soft mist inhalers release a slow-moving mist. It contains liquid formulations akin to those used in nebulizers.
For these types of inhalers, they work well for reaching small airways in the lungs. One way to differentiate an SMI from the other variants is on the indicator that it has on the side of the device. This tells you how many doses you have available.
The interesting note about this variant is that you don’t need a spacer to use them. This means you can use this directly without worrying about irritation.
The advantage of an SMI is in how much of the medicine gets into the lungs when compared to the other variants. This makes it easier to use. The only downside is in loading the dose.
Steps in Using an SMI
In using an SMI, you also need to check the directions first before opening the cap. There are specific instructions included in preparing the inhaler.
Breathe out slowly then place your mouth and close it around the mouthpiece. Keep the inhaler’s air vents open while doing so.
After which, breathe in slowly and deeply through the mouth. During this step, press the dose release button and inhale the mist that comes out from it.
Once you do this, hold your breath for at least 10 seconds. After which, breathe out slowly. Like with other inhalers, check with your doctor on the dosage frequency.
Where and How to Get an Inhaler
Now that we gave a good look at the types of inhalers that you can use, you might be wondering about what works for you.
To help you decide, the best way to do this is to consult your doctor on the matter. They would know the specific medication to recommend for your circumstance and situation. This also includes the dosage and the frequency of the dose.
They can also point you towards the exact medication and inhaler that can help you. Aside from asthma, they can provide you a prescription for the medicine that you need. More so if it involves a different respiratory condition.
Once you have the medicine and inhaler that you need, you can check here for the steps to have it ordered. This way, you can be sure that it will come to your doorstep.
Check the Different Types of Inhalers for the Right One
By knowing the different types of inhalers available, you can look for the right one. Check with your doctor and weigh in with their recommendations and prescriptions. Once you have their advice noted, go ahead and order the inhaler that works well for you.
You can check out our selection of prescribed medications today. Aside from asthma, we also have other medications for various conditions.
Browse through them and place your order today. You can also contact us for questions and inquiries. We are ready to assist you.