Be a Better Perceiver

Perception of asthma symptoms is a tricky subject. There is some confusion surrounding what an “asthma attack” really means. When people think of an asthma attack, they tend to think it means sudden severe asthma symptoms that can come out of nowhere. 

The reality of an asthma attack

While this is true and can happen, in reality, an asthma attack is any time you experience any asthma symptoms. In the medical world, we prefer to call it an asthma exacerbation or an asthma flare-up.

I have been a Respiratory Therapist for fifteen years and have lived with asthma since I was eight years old. Even with all of my knowledge about the lungs and how this disease works, I am guilty of sometimes being a poor perceiver when it comes to my asthma symptoms.

How do we measure our perception of asthma?

The very first time you experience any asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing etc take note of it.  Don’t ignore what you are feeling as chances are almost certain it will get worse before it gets better. If you track your peak flow and notice your readings/numbers are starting to go down even before you feel asthma symptoms take note of that as well as this is not uncommon.

Know when to see a healthcare professional

Don’t wait to treat your asthma symptoms. Follow what your asthma action plan says to do as far as using your rescue inhaler or seeking medical attention from your doctor or emergency room. If you do not have an asthma action plan be sure to ask your doctor for one at your next visit.

An asthma action plan is a piece of paper that contains a list of your daily asthma medications as well as what exactly to do when your asthma starts acting up.  It takes the guesswork out of it which is so helpful because when we are struggling to breathe trying to remember what to do can be a challenge.

Challenge your perception of asthma!

If I had a dollar for every time my doctor has scolded me for not calling him earlier I would be a wealthy woman! This is something I will continue to work on and I want to challenge you as well to be a better perceiver. Your lungs will thank you!

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