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Using a Glucometer
Using a Glucometer

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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson 5: Asthma Treatments

Are there any asthma medications that I don't inhale?

In fact, there are a variety of medications that your doctor may prescribe to help relieve your asthma or allergy symptoms.

Antihistamines can be used to relieve or prevent certain allergies that can trigger your asthma. Antihistamines work by preventing the effects of histamine–a chemical substance produced by your body during an allergic reaction that causes your allergy symptoms. Antihistamines come in tablet, capsule, liquid or injection form.

Many over-the-counter antihistamines cause drowsiness. Other common side effects include dry mouth, difficulty urinating, dry eyes or constipation. Some newer prescription antihistamines cause fewer side effects, especially drowsiness. After taking antihistamines, some kids may experience nightmares, nervousness, restlessness or irritability.

Decongestants are used to treat nasal congestion and other common cold and allergy symptoms. They work by shrinking blood vessels which decreases the amount of fluid that leaks out and lessens nasal congestion. Decongestants come in tablet, liquid, nose spray or drop form (although drops are generally for acute cases). Different decongestants are available over-the-counter or by prescription. Side effects can include nervousness, sleeplessness or elevation in blood pressure. Absolutely talk to your physician about which form of the medication is best for you, especially if you are considering taking over-the-counter nose spray on a regular basis.

Oral corticosteroids have the same basic anti-inflammatory effect of the inhaled corticosteroids from the earlier part of this lesson, but they can have more side effects. They are rarely used as a long-term treatment, except in cases of uncontrolled, severe asthma. Prednisone, one of the most commonly prescribed steroid drugs, is available in tablet or liquid form. Side effects of short-term prednisone can include slight weight gain, increased appetite, menstrual irregularities and cramps, heartburn or indigestion. Some patients experience lethargy, poor appetite, and severe muscle aches or joint pain when their dosage is decreased. Long-term oral corticosteroid use can cause ulcers, weight gain, cataracts, weakened bones and skin, hypertension, elevated blood sugar, easy bruising and decreased growth in children. If you are on this medication, never adjust your dosage or stop taking it without speaking with your doctor, regardless of the side effects you are experiencing. Your doctor will determine which, if any adjustments are needed or will taper your dosage slowly for weeks or months to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Oral anti-leukotriene medications are also used to fight the inflammatory response typical of chronic allergic asthma. Leukotrienes are produced by many of the cells involved in causing airway inflammation. They cause the smooth muscle of the airways to contract, increasing fluid leakage from blood vessels in the lung, and adding to inflammation by attracting other inflammatory cells into the airways. These medications reduce the leukotrienes in your system.

Assignment #4 (The Last One!)

And now for the fun stuff! Since you completed this lesson like the amazing SavvyScholar that you are, take a few minutes to play the Great Asthma Adventure Game! We promise — you won't be dissapointed!

Congratulations graduate! Your diploma is on its way! Wasn't the game a fun way to end your Asthma 101 education! We hope you enjoyed this general learning series as much as we enjoyed bring it to you. Don't worry though, the fun doesn't have to be over so soon. Now that you have a solid foundation on asthma basics, you are ready to tackle more specific asthma issues. Click here to go to our SavvyScholar Online Learning Center to see what other classes we have, post a message to another asthma savvyscholar, or chat in our student lounge. Also, don't forget our wonderful articles that you can access from:

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