How Many Types Of Asthma Are There – Inhalers are small, hand-held devices that allow you to breathe medicine directly into your lungs through your mouth. Types include metered dose, dry powder, and soft mist inhalers. They usually treat asthma and COPD, but providers may prescribe them for other conditions. Bronchodilators and corticosteroids are common inhaled medications.
Your provider will prescribe the inhaler that is best for your particular situation. Ask them to demonstrate the correct way to use it.
How Many Types Of Asthma Are There
An inhaler is a small, hand-held device that delivers medicine directly to your lungs. Inhalers can be dry powder, metered dose or soft mist. The most common types use drugs that help open up your airways or reduce inflammation in your lungs.
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Inhalers and nebulizers deliver medicines that treat lung diseases. But the inhaler is a handheld device that does not need electricity. It usually gives a dry powder or spray medication, but some use a gentle mist of liquid medication.
Nebulizers are larger and use a battery or you plug them in. You use them with a mask or mouthpiece. Nebulizers deliver medicine in minutes rather than in one breath.
People with chronic lung conditions that affect breathing, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are the most likely to use inhalers. You use daily inhalers and rapid-acting inhalers (rescue inhalers) to prevent or control your symptoms during an asthma attack or COPD flare-up (when your breathing gets worse).
Yes, providers prescribe rescue inhalers and inhaled corticosteroids for respiratory conditions other than asthma. As with any medicine, you should only use the inhaler prescribed for you.
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Inhaled medications most commonly treat asthma and COPD. Providers sometimes prescribe them to treat respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis. Providers also use them to treat:
Providers often prescribe inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) to prevent asthma symptoms, along with a rescue inhaler to quickly relieve attacks. If ICS medications don’t help control your asthma, your provider may add a long-acting bronchodilator, such as a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) or a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA).
Types of inhaler devices include pressurized metered dose inhalers (pMDIs), dry powder inhalers (DPIs), and soft mist inhalers.
Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs or pMDIs), sometimes called “puffers,” store medication in a pressurized canister. The canister sits in a hand container with a spout. When you press down on the canister, the propellant (something that helps the medicine come out of the canister) helps send a puff of medicine from the oral cavity. Following the instructions, you breathe in through your mouth to draw the medicine into your lungs. MDIs deliver a single dose from a canister that holds multiple doses.
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Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) store medicine in powder form inside capsules or other containers that you activate when you’re ready to use the inhaler. Unlike MDIs, a propellant does not push the drug out of a DPI. Instead, you use a quick, deep breath to blow the dust out and into your lungs.
DPIs are usually tubular or disk shaped, with a mouth cavity. Some have a download location in medicine. Different styles and brands have different instructions on how to activate and use them. Some examples of dry powder inhaler devices are:
Soft mist inhalers (Respimat®) turn liquid medicine into a fine mist. You inhale the mist through your mouth to deliver the medicine to your lungs.
The types of medicines in respiratory inhalers include those that provide quick relief during an exacerbation or attack, and medicines that you take regularly to manage symptoms or prevent attacks. These include short-acting bronchodilators, long-acting bronchodilators, and inhaled corticosteroids.
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Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) reduce inflammation in your lungs. You use them daily to prevent asthma attacks. Sometimes providers also prescribe them for COPD or other lung conditions. They usually come in a dry powder inhaler. Examples of ICS medications include:
Short-acting bronchodilators are inhalers that you use during an asthma attack or COPD exacerbation. They are often called rescue inhalers. They help you breathe faster, but the effects only last for a few hours, so they’re not meant to manage your condition long-term.
Bronchodilators in rescue inhalers include short-acting beta-agonists (SABAs) and short-acting muscarinic antagonists (SAMAs or anticholinergics). Both work by relaxing the muscles in your airways. They last four to six hours and come in a metered-dose inhaler or nebulizer. Examples of short-acting bronchodilators include:
Most people use long-acting bronchodilators to manage their COPD symptoms. Providers may also prescribe long-acting bronchodilators along with inhaled corticosteroids to treat asthma.
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Long-acting bronchodilators can last 12-24 hours, depending on the drug. They come in a dry powder or soft mist inhaler. You take them every day to reduce the risk of severe symptoms and the need for a rescue inhaler. These include long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs or anticholinergics) and long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs). Like short-acting bronchodilators, they work by relaxing the muscles in your airways. Examples of LAMAs include:
Some inhalation treatments combine two or three drugs. For example, some drugs combine two long-acting bronchodilators, and some combine one or two bronchodilators and an ICS. Combivent® combines two short-acting bronchodilators (albuterol and ipratropium). Compounded medications may be in metered dose, dry powder, or soft mist inhalers. Examples include:
In addition to COPD and asthma, providers treat several diseases with inhalers. Other medications available in dry powder inhalers include:
Albuterol is the most commonly prescribed inhaled medication. Providers typically prescribe short-acting bronchodilators or rescue inhalers for COPD and asthma. Providers sometimes also prescribe short-acting bronchodilators for other respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis. If you have trouble breathing, they give you quick relief.
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Each inhaler device has its own directions. Be sure to follow the instructions for your specific device and ask your provider to show you how to use it. Common directions include:
The risks of side effects from inhalers vary depending on the medication and the condition you are treating. Some risks include:
MDIs are easy to abuse without realizing it. If you do not time the inhalation correctly with the inhaler expelling the medicine, not all of the medicine will reach your lungs.
It is important to carefully follow the instructions for using MDI. Ask your provider for a demonstration. You can also ask if a space is right for you. This is a tube that is connected to the oral cavity and facilitates the correct timing of inhalation of the drug.
Types Of Asthma
To use a DPI, you must be able to breathe deeply and quickly to expel the medicine. This means that certain people will not be able to use DPIs. Ask your provider to demonstrate how to use the device they have prescribed. If you are concerned about your ability to use it, talk to them.
Do not use your inhaler for more than prescribed by your provider. Many inhalers have a meter on them so you can keep track of how many doses you have taken. If you are concerned about taking too much medication or feel that you need more than prescribed to manage your symptoms, talk to your provider.
If you have any questions about using your inhaler, talk to your doctor. If your breathing is not well controlled by medication, you should contact them as well. Signs that your breathing is not well controlled may include waking up at night with asthma symptoms or unexpectedly needing a rescue inhaler more than twice a week.
Inhalers treat many conditions, but providers most commonly prescribe them for respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD. Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you are using your inhaler correctly and getting the most out of it. Demonstrate to your provider how to use your particular device and ask any questions about proper use. If you feel that a particular inhaler is too difficult to use or does not work for you, speak up. There may be other options that your provider may recommend.
The Different Types Of Asthma
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Ads on our site help support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy There are more than 25 million people in the United States who suffer from some form of asthma. Chronic disease can happen to anyone and causes swelling of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. We need to breathe to live, because asthma is a serious condition that deserves your attention. There are various reasons for having asthma in the first place. Some people may develop asthma because of family history, workplace, or allergies. Learn all about the different types of asthma you face to better understand the disease.
Before moving on to all the types of asthma you may suffer from, it is important to first know some of the symptoms of asthma. The easiest way to tell if you may have asthma is if you have frequent shortness of breath. However, you may also suffer from:
It is never good to sit on health problems that you may suffer from for too long. If you notice these symptoms, be sure to see a specialist so that you can properly diagnose what type of asthma you may have.
The first type of asthma we’ll look at
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