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Asthma is a disease that causes a difficulty in breathing for people. People can be born with it or develop it at a certain point in life. Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be treated. If not treated, it can even be deadly. When diagnosed with asthma, it is very important to develop an action plan with one\'s doctor. The action plan involves regular visits to the doctor and medication usage. After diagnosing the patient with asthma, the doctor prescribes the appropriate medicines. There are two types of medications for asthma: long-term control medicines, and quick-relief medicines.

The patient should use both medications if he or she wants to lead a normal life, without waking up every night with heavy coughing or a shortness of breath. Long-term medicines treat the inflammation of the airways in the long run and should be taken every day if the patient wants to feel any effects from the drugs in the future. Quick-relief medicines should be taken when the person has an attack (heavy coughing, shortness of breath, etc.) The medications usually come in the form of pills or inhalers. The most common long-term medications for asthma are inhaled corticosteroids. They are not the illegal steroids that athletes are infamous for using. These are legal drugs prescribed to asthma patients. They are usually very beneficial, even though they could have some side-effects. Sometimes patients who have been using this drug for too long develop osteoporosis (a disease of the bones) or cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eyes).

In those cases, the doctors combine this drug with some other medications, or advise the patients to add more vitamin D and calcium to their diet. Some other drugs used by asthma patients are inhaled beta-2 agonists, leukotriene modifiers, cromolyn and nedocromil, and theophylline. However, none of these medications should be taken without prior consultations with the doctor. It is very important to visit the doctor regularly (probably a few times every month in the beginning, until the patient\'s condition improves).

It is a little more difficult to recognize asthma in children under five years of age. Parents with children who show signs of asthma should keep a close watch on how their child\'s condition develops. People who suffer from asthma should definitely improve their life habits. They need to sleep well (6-8 hours per night), eat healthy, nutritious food, exercise moderately (and warm up first), and avoiding emotional stress. These are some of the things that will improve the condition of someone suffering from asthma.

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