Asthma is usually a chronic lung condition that may present with cough, wheeze, shortness of breath and is either related to allergies, environmental exposures or respiratory infections.
Asthma can be a difficult condition to diagnose because it can present with similar symptoms to bronchitis, emphysema and other lung diseases. However, under the care of a physician, combining the findings of a medical history, physical exam, laboratory tests, pulmonary function tests (using a spirometer), most patients can be correctly identified and appropriately treated.
Unfortunately, asthma is not a curable condition. It is controversial whether asthma can be outgrown. Studies performed at the University of Arizona in Tucson have shown that up to 60% of children by the age of six can outgrow asthma. But if a child has a strong family history of asthma, has atopic dermatitis (eczema) or significant early and heavy exposure to smoke, their chance of outgrowing asthma diminishes greatly.
Many studies show that most patients, especially the young and elderly population, cannot correctly coordinate the use of an inhaler and adequately administer and breath hold without the help of a spacer. Almost all patients inhale their medication so quickly that little of the medication enters the lung, but rather stays in the mouth and is swallowed into the stomach. Spacers help to decrease the amount of inhaled steroids that end up in the mouth.
There is a recognized methodology in how to assess the severity of your asthma. You will need the help of your healthcare professional. In brief, there are national guidelines published by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) in Washington, D.C. in determining how to score your severity of asthma. This scoring mechanism is based on a combination of two main factors: (1) your symptoms such as time of cough and number of coughs and (2) your lung function tests (spirometry). This score index consists of: intermittent asthma, mild persistent asthma, moderate persistent asthma and severe persistent asthma. Each category requires different types and doses of asthma medication.
Inhaled steroids can deposit on your throat, causing you to develop thrush. It doesn't matter what delivery device you use, be it a regular inhaler or a DPI (dry powdered inhaler) such as Advair® or Pulmocort Turbohaler®). All have been shown to cause this side effect. Thrush is caused by the steroid upsetting the balance of bacteria in your mouth, allowing Candida (fungus) to thrive. Thrush can present with you having a sore throat and white patches on your soft palate and tongue. You need to speak to your healthcare provider if this occurs and get medical attention. Additionally, many patients complain of painless hoarse voice after using an inhaled steroid after several months. This is also caused by the inhaled steroid affecting the muscles near the vocal cord. If this occurs, you also need to get medical attention. Spacers such as RiteFlo™ can decrease this chance from occurring
The RiteFlo™ spacer is the only spacer that assures the NIH guidelines for correct inhaled flow rate. Optimal flow rate allows the medication to get deeper into your lung. RiteFlo™ is priced significantly lower compared to other similar spacers/holding chambers. This was done to allow patients the opportunity to always have a spacer to use with their inhaler. All other spacers require training for proper use because whistles are needed to adjust for proper inhaled flow rate. No training is required if you use the RiteFlo™ spacer since this is a built in feature.
Studies have shown that low inspiratory flow rate allows the ideal small respirable particles of medication to reach deeper into your lung where the medication is needed most.
Most health plans cover spacers under DME (Durable Medical Equipment) rules. Some health plans cover it directly. You need to check with your health plan if spacers are a covered benefit. If your insurance plan does not cover a spacer, ask your physician or helthcare professional about RiteFlo or ordering this for you.
The best way to care for my RiteFlo™ is to keep it away from young children. Before using the RiteFlo™, wash with soapy water and allow to drip dry. RiteFlo™ and other spacer/holding chambers are prescribed medical devices and not toys. It is best to wash the RiteFlo™ once a week in warm soapy water and let it drip dry. Do not wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel.
Static electricity builds up on most plastic devices. If your RiteFlo™ or other spacer has a significant amount of static charge, medication will adhere to the sides of the spacer and less medication will come out. Soap prevents the build-up of static charge.