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Is Your Asthma Controlled? Or Not Controlled?

The goal of any asthma treatment regimen is the same: to help you obtain and maintain good asthma control. So, what is good asthma control? And, is your asthma controlled? Let’s have that discussion.

As a reference here, I am going to use the GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma) asthma guidelines. These are the guidelines that most countries and hospitals base their own asthma guidelines on.1

Yes! My asthma is controlled!

According to the GINA guidelines, your asthma is controlled if:1

  • Minimal daytime symptoms you rarely experience coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath.
  • Normal lung function – Determined by a test called a pulmonary function test (PFT), your PFT results should be normal or close to normal between asthma attacks.
  • Rare use of rescue medicine – You should only use them occasionally to treat asthma symptoms.
  • Ability to perform normal daily activities – You are able to sleep without waking up due to asthma symptoms. You can work and enjoy life by doing most of the things you enjoy doing, and you are able to exercise (even if it is a simple walk in the woods) without experiencing symptoms.
  • Rare asthma attacks – Asthma symptoms (attacks) only occur sometimes, and they are generally easily reversed with time or treatment when they do occur.

No! My asthma is not controlled!

According to the GINA guidelines, your asthma is not controlled if:1

  • Frequent reliance on rescue inhaler – You use your rescue medicine daily to relieve symptoms.
  • Nighttime symptoms – You cannot make it through the night without your sleep being disturbed by asthma symptoms.
  • Decreased physical activity tolerance – You are unable to exercise, or you face limitations as to when and how you can exercise due to your asthma.
  • Increased reliance on oral steroids – You frequently need to be on steroids to gain control of your asthma. Or, you require prolonged courses of steroids to maintain any semblance of good asthma control.
  • Emergency room visits or hospitalizations – You frequently require the services of an emergency room or clinic to reverse asthma attacks.

This or That

Do you believe your asthma is controlled?

We are all different and unique

Of course, those who devise asthma guidelines understand one basic fact about asthma: that every case of asthma is unique.

This means each person with asthma may find themselves at various points on the spectrum of asthma control, and what constitutes success is inherently personal. So, while the criteria presented provide valuable benchmarks, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

This journey is a collaboration between you and your doctor. The question is not just about meeting external standards but also about personal satisfaction.

It's a reflection of your own unique needs and experiences, empowering you to navigate this journey on YOUR own terms. Remember, your asthma story is uniquely yours, and in embracing that, you take charge of defining what success means in your asthma management.

So, that said: Is your asthma controlled? Or, worded a better way: Are YOU content with your level of asthma control? Please share in the comments below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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