While there is no cure for asthma, it can be controlled. This means that asthma episodes can be prevented, or at least made less severe when they do occur. Here are 10 tips to obtaining ideal control of your asthma.
- See an asthma doctor regularly. Doctors can make sure you are properly diagnosed so you can get the treatment you need to obtain ideal asthma control. Most asthma experts recommend you see an asthma doctor every three months, or even more frequently until your asthma is controlled. Then you should see your doctor at least once every year.
- Learn what medicine works best. Your doctor may prescribe asthma medicine to help you prevent and control your asthma. Some asthmatics benefit from just one medicine, although sometimes a combination of medicines are needed. The best way of learning what medicines work best for you is a matter of trial and error.
- Take your asthma controller medicines every day! Controller medicines are those that you take every day to make your airways less sensitive to asthma triggers. These work to prevent asthma, or make it less severe when it does occur. These medicines take 2-3 weeks to start working, and so you will need to take them every day to enjoy the benefits. You should take them even when you feel good, especially when you feel good.
- Have a rescue inhaler nearby at all times. If you have asthma your doctor should prescribe for you a rescue inhaler. This is a small, hand-held device that can help you get your breath back quick. It’s portable and easy to use. You should take it with you wherever you go so that you can quickly end asthma episodes when they do occur.
- Create an asthma action plan. This is a plan you work on with your doctor to determine what actions you take when you feel asthma symptoms. It can help you decide when to use your rescue inhaler, when to call your doctor, or when to call 911. It should be written on one side of one sheet of paper and kept in an easy to find location, such as on the refrigerator door.
- Learn your early warning symptoms. A neat thing about asthma is it gives you some early warning symptoms to let you know an asthma attack is impending. These symptoms include a headache, itchy throat, itchy eyes, runny nose, chest tightness, or anxiety. Once observed, you should refer to your asthma action plan to decide what actions to take to stave off an asthma attack.
- Learn your asthma triggers. These are things that might trigger your asthma when you are exposed to them. They may include allergens such as dust mites, pollen, cockroach urine, mold spores, and certain foods. They may include anxiety, strong smells, cigarette smoke, wood smoke, or even exercise. Your doctor can help you both identify and control your asthma triggers.
- Keep an asthma journal. This can be something as simple as a spiral tablet, although it can also involve using an asthma app. At the end of every day, you should record what symptoms you felt, what caused them, and what you did to feel better. You should then take this with you to your doctor’s appointments. It can be used as a guide to make any necessary adjustments to your asthma treatment regimen or your asthma action plan.
- Use a Peak Flow Meter. This is a small hand-held device that you blow into, and it measures how much air you can exhale. You should use it every day at the same time, such as every morning or every night before bed, or both. You should then record your number in your asthma journal. More often than not, your peak flow numbers will start to trend downward before you even feel asthma symptoms, and this can act as a guide to when to take action.
- Learn as much as you can about asthma. Make yourself an asthma expert. This usually starts by talking to your doctor. There are tons of really good books that explain this disease and how to live a normal life with it. Another good option is by hanging out in asthma communities like ours.
Most people are able to obtain ideal asthma control. The tips offered here should start you on your way to easier breathing and normal living with asthma.