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How to Cure Asthma: Is It Possible? Can Asthma Go Into Remission?

How to Cure Asthma: Is It Possible? Can Asthma Go Into Remission?

Chances are, you’ve heard anecdotes like this before: “I had asthma when I was a child. But now that I’m older, I don’t get asthma attacks anymore. I guess I’m cured.” We’ve all heard similar stories, but is it really possible? Are there ways on how to cure asthma? Can you outgrow asthma? Can it go into remission? While cases like this are familiar, the science is clear. Asthma is a lifelong chronic condition that has no cure; however, it’s not so simple.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs1. As a result of certain triggers (usually allergies, illness, or environmental factors such as the weather), individuals with asthma may experience wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing. These symptoms are commonly referred to as asthma attacks, and these can be mild or severe.

Asthma is a chronic condition, meaning you live with it every day. It affects people of all ages, but often starts during childhood.

It is still unclear what exactly causes asthma1. But it involves a strong immune response to a substance that enters the lungs (usually allergens). Genes also play a role, so if someone in your family has asthma, you are more likely to have asthma as well.

How to Cure Asthma: Is It Possible?

There is currently no method on how to cure asthma.

When you have asthma, three things happen2:

  1. There is swelling inside the airways.
  2. Excess mucus clogs the airways.
  3. Muscles tighten and squeeze around the airways.

Even though asthma cannot be cured, these symptoms can be managed with treatment and medicine.

Can You Outgrow Asthma?

If asthma cannot be cured, what about the cases of people who claim they have “outgrown” their asthma?

One possibility is that they never had asthma at all3. Doctors ensure that they make the right diagnosis, but a misdiagnosis remains an unlikely possibility in rare cases.

It is also possible that these people are experiencing a significant reduction in symptoms. But even though they may no longer have attacks, the underlying inflammation is still there in their lungs4. And they may, at some point in the future, experience symptoms again. One study in Taiwan showed that Asians are likely to experience a second peak of asthma attacks or symptoms in their 30s5.

Can Asthma Go Into Remission?

According to one research review, asthma is in remission if 12 months have passed without any significant symptoms and without use of corticosteroids6.

Being in remission only means that you are enjoying a period where you have no asthma attacks and you are not reliant on asthma medication. It does not mean that you are cured.

How to Control Asthma

Not all asthmatics have the same medications or treatments. It is best to consult with your doctor about what treatment can have the best results for your condition.

In general, treatment for asthma falls into three buckets: avoiding triggers, taking preventive medication, and treating asthma attacks when they happen to help you breathe.

1. Avoid Triggers

Prevention is always best. To stop asthma attacks from happening, your best course of action is always to avoid anything that can trigger your asthma, whether it is airborne allergens or pollution. Many attacks occur during or after viral infections, so you should also avoid infectious diseases like the cold or flu. Consult your doctor to get a better idea of what your triggers are.

2. Take Preventive Medicines

Your doctor may prescribe you medicine that will help to prevent attacks. These are usually steroids that come in an inhaler7. If you have an asthma attack though, preventive medicines will not help you.

Children may have difficulty using an inhaler and will need a spacer to use with the inhaler.

3. Treat Asthma Attacks

When asthma attacks happen, your priority is being able to breathe. To help you breathe during attacks, your doctor will prescribe a bronchodilator that also comes in an inhaler7.

These medications often have side effects such as increasing your heartbeat or causing shaking. It is important to minimize the use of these inhalers to prevent side effects.

Key Takeaway

There is no way how to cure asthma. It also cannot be outgrown, though, sometimes, depending on the severity of your asthma, you may enjoy long periods where you are free of symptoms and attacks.

Asthma can be controlled. To do this, it is important to avoid triggers and take the medications prescribed by your doctor.

Learn more about Asthma here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Asthma, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma, Accessed October 6, 2021

2 Asthma Medicines and Treatment, https://www.aafa.org/asthma-treatment/, Accessed October 6, 2021

3 https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/by_the_way_doctor_does_asthma_go_away, Accessed October 6, 2021

4 Does Asthma Go Away? https://www.verywellhealth.com/does-asthma-go-away-201106, Accessed October 6, 2021

5 Asthma incidence, remission, relapse and persistence: a population-based study in southern Taiwan,
https://respiratory-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12931-014-0135-9, Accessed October 6, 2021

6 An expert consensus framework for asthma remission as a treatment goal, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674919317087, Accessed October 6, 2021

7 Treatment, Asthma, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/treatment/, Accessed October 6, 2021

 

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Written by Cesar Beltran Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel