Are You A Gallant Asthmatic?
The perfect asthmatic is flawless. In the past, I have called this person "The Gallant Asthmatic." If there was such an asthmatic, how would we describe them? For the sake of argument, let's assume you are the infamous Gallant Asthmatic. What would that mean?
Qualities of "The Gallant Asthmatic"
It would mean that:
- You see a physician at least once a year to discuss your asthma. If your primary care physician cannot manage your asthma, you see an asthma specialist, such as a pulmonologist, allergist, or Ear-Nose-And-Throat (ENT) physician.
- You take your asthma medications exactly as prescribed. If you might miss a dose, it only happens occasionally.
- You use proper inhaler techniques to make sure you are getting the most out of your inhalers. Your doctor, nurse, or respiratory therapist may occasionally have you demonstrate your inhaler technique. When they do, you are open-minded and accepting of any recommendations they have to improve your inhaler technique.
- You use a spacer with all of your metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), including Albuterol, Dulera, and Symbicort. Spacers can help improve the distribution of the medicine inside your lungs and also reduce potential side effects.
- You have rescue medicine near you at all times. Rescue medicine can include nebulizer medications like albuterol or levalbuterol. It may also consist of inhalers such as albuterol or levalbuterol.
- You use your rescue medicine only as prescribed. In other words, you do not abuse it.
- You make sure to rinse and spit after using your inhalers to reduce your risk for side effects.
- If you find yourself using your rescue medicine more than prescribed, you recognize this as a sign of poorly controlled asthma and refer to your asthma action plan.
- You HAVE an asthma action plan.
- You keep your asthma action plan in a location that is easy for you and others to find.
- You keep an asthma journal and bring it to all your asthma doctor appointments.
- You have a peak flow meter and know how to use it as part of your asthma action plan. Or you are aware of your early warning symptoms. And you use these as part of your asthma action plan. You keep yourself educated about asthma.
- You keep yourself updated on the latest asthma wisdom and on any new asthma treatments that become available.
- You have at least one person you can confide in on how your asthma is doing.
- You are your own best advocate. If you have ideas, you openly share them with your physician.
- You are open to beginning the discussion. However, you remain open-minded and accepting if your doctor has other ideas. Although, if you ardently disagree with your physician, you are willing to seek a second opinion or ask for a referral to an asthma specialist.
- You are open and honest about how you are feeling at all times.
- You know your asthma triggers and how best to control them.
- You do your best to stay active. And when you are feeling well, you get some exercise on most days. Exercise may be something as simple as walking, swimming, or riding a bike or stationary bike.
- Your asthma is well controlled. You can do most of the things you enjoy. Or, perhaps your asthma is as controlled as you and your doctor think it will get, despite being compliant with your current asthma treatment regimen.
So, what do you think?
Did I draw an accurate description of you? If so, kudos to you! That's awesome. (And I'm jealous). If not, that's okay. That makes you more like me: a not-so-perfect asthmatic who makes a gallant effort at being the best asthmatic possible. And that makes you a gallant asthmatic in my book.
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