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May 9, 2018 | Allergy and Immunology • Value-Based Care
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects approximately one in every 13 people in the United States. With a good asthma action plan, people with asthma can control their condition and generally live normal lives without limitation. Your asthma is considered uncontrolled if you:
Asthma control is important because it helps you prevent severe asthma attacks that require steroid use, an emergency department visit and hospitalization. It also helps you maintain healthy lung function, improve your quality of life and achieve your best. If you experience uncontrolled asthma, try these management tips.
There are several different types of asthma control medications, and they can be taken orally or inhaled through a nebulizer or inhaler (and spacer). Your doctor can determine which combination of medication is right for you and your health goals. Taking your control medications as directed is extremely important because it helps reduce symptoms of asthma, the need for rescue inhalers, and severity and frequency of asthma attacks.
The first step in being able to avoid asthma triggers is recognizing what they are. Asthma triggers are different for everyone, so it’s important to take note of when your symptoms worsen and identify what triggers you are most often exposed to.
Common asthma triggers include:
Although not all triggers are avoidable, many are. You can also start allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) to help get rid of your allergy triggers. If you have mild allergy-triggered asthma, this treatment can potentially cure your asthma. This printable worksheet by the American Lung Association provides tips to avoid certain triggers.
An asthma action plan is personal to you, your current health status and your treatment goals. Work with your doctor to develop a plan that works best for you. If your child has asthma, it’s important for those that care for her (teachers, daycare centers, relatives, babysitters, extracurricular counselors, etc.) have a copy of the plan.
A good asthma action plan should include:
The American Academy of Allergy and Immunology provides an example asthma action plan.
A peak flow meter is a tool that can help you monitor your lung function by measuring the movement of air through your lungs. Knowing these measurements helps you and your doctor identify triggers and adjust your treatment plan. Your doctor can show you how to use a peak flow meter and how to calculate your target zones. Add your target zones to your asthma action plan.
Adults who have asthma often have co-existing medical conditions (also called comorbidities) that can affect their asthma. Treating these conditions simultaneously can help improve their impact on asthma symptoms and improve overall health. Co-existing conditions that affect asthma include:
Asthma affects each patient differently, and it’s important to consult with your doctor regularly to help you manage your condition.
“Treatment and Management.” Asthma.net
“The Importance of Using Controller Medicines Daily.” Allergy Partners.
“Reduce Asthma Triggers.” American Lung Association.
“Peak Flow Meters.” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
“Asthma, Associated Comorbidities and Risk Factors.” Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.