We interviewed Dr. Louis-Philippe Boulet, Professor of Medicine at Laval University, a leading asthma specialist in Canada, who provided his expert opinion on controlling asthma and how to make asthma treatment easier for some people.
"Although today's asthma treatments and guidelines offer the possibility for excellent asthma control, the reality of asthma control in Canada is a different story" says Dr. Boulet. The recent TRAC (The Reality of Asthma Control) study showed that while most people with asthma who participated in the study thought their asthma was well controlled, more than half of them actually had poor asthma control.
While there have been many advances in asthma treatment in recent years, the goal of asthma therapy remains the same: people with asthma should be able to have a normal life. This involves keeping asthma symptoms away, or "in control." Ideally, your asthma treatment should control your asthma symptoms to the point where it does not interrupt your daily activities or wake you up at night. And you shouldn't have daytime symptoms or need your reliever medication more than twice a week.
The basic principles of asthma therapy involve treating both the inflammation and the tightening of the airways, with a focus on the inflammation component. There are various treatment strategies available for asthma, which allows you to customize your treatment according to your personal preference and the severity of your asthma.
Some people are very comfortable with their current asthma treatment, but there are others that prefer treatment strategies aimed at ultimately reducing the overall number of inhalers necessary to control their asthma. In his interview, Dr. Boulet highlighted a few strategies being used by physicians to help control asthma. One strategy combines maintenance medications while another strategy utilizes a single inhaler system that can be used for both maintenance and rescue therapy. Dr. Boulet emphasized that current treatment strategies can control asthma so that you can have a normal life, but only when they're used properly. The ideal scenario would be optimal control with regular dose of maintenance (at the minimum dose needed for control) and minimal need for reliever therapy.
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