Another attitudinal advance in managing asthma has been the early and aggressive use of symptom relief medications, including Beta-2 receptor stimulants and short courses of oral steroids, as a part of the home rescue therapy. This form of therapy has the additional advantage of making patients and caregivers self-sufficient and confident in handling an acute episode of asthma. This type of self-sufficiency is essential in the successful control of any chronic illness. And the good news on this front is that a second class of Beta-2 medications (essentially more selective optical isomers of their parent medications) has just become available.
The past few years have also seen a concerted effort by the National Institutes of Health, especially the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and other agencies to educate physicians in the best ways to manage asthma. Community education programs, support groups and the Internet have played a major role in providing useful information to parents of asthmatic children and patients alike.
In summary, the therapeutic and attitudinal advances in managing asthma have been very substantial in the past 15 to 20 years, resulting in more effective and safer ways of controlling it. Although a cure is not on the horizon, nearly complete control is well within reach.