Tips for Controlling Your Asthma

Animation Movie Available Related Media: Asthma Managemet: Emotional and Stress TriggersIMAGEAsthma that is not well controlled can cause many problems. People miss work or school, go to the hospital, or even die because of their asthma. But you do not have to put up with the problems that asthma can cause. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers the following tips to help keep your asthma under control:

Get Proper Care

You can prevent serious problems related to asthma by getting proper care. With the help of your doctor, you can have control over your asthma and become symptom-free most of the time. But remember your asthma does not go away when your symptoms go away. You must take care of your asthma, even if you have a mild case.

Assess Your Symptoms

You may have all of these asthma symptoms, some of them, or just one. Symptoms can be mild or severe and may include:
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
Signs that your asthma is not well controlled can include any of the following:
  • You have symptoms more than 2 days a week
  • You need to use your rapid-acting medication to relieve your symptoms more than 2 days in a week
  • Your medications don't work as well as they used to work
  • Your symptoms interfer with sleep
  • Your symptoms interfere with your normal activity
  • Your peak flow is below 80% of your personal best
  • You have to seek medical help right away due to an asthma attack

Work With Your Doctor

Consider the following tips for working with your doctor on an asthma control plan:
  • Agree on clear treatment goals.
  • Ask questions and be sure to bring up any concerns.
  • Tell your doctor if you think you’ll have trouble doing what is asked.
  • Bring your medications and written action plan to each visit.
  • Before leaving your doctor’s office, write down the things you are supposed to do.
  • See your doctor at least every six months to check your asthma and review your treatment.
  • Consider using an online program to manage your symptoms. These programs can help to improve asthma control and lung function. Organizations like the American Lung Association and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America offer information on asthma management and support groups. Your doctor can also recommend an online program.
  • Stay in contact with your doctor between visits, especially if your symptoms are changing. Whether you stay in contact over the phone or through your doctor's website, good communication can help you stay out of the hospital and have better control of your asthma.

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