Asthma is a disease that impacts the lungs. It makes breathing difficult and sleep troublesome. It is one of the most common long-term diseases in children; however, adults can be diagnosed with the condition too. The most common symptoms are chest tightness, coughing at night and in the morning, breathlessness, and the signature wheezing when breathing.
Asthma causes two million emergency room visits every year. According to the American Lung Association, once a person has been diagnosed with asthma it is critical to find out how to manage the disease. If not, you too may find yourself in the emergency room battling an unwanted attack.
Steps to Controlling Your Asthma
The first step in controlling your asthma is to be aware of the many resources available to you. Your medical provider has answers to your questions regarding management and treatment. Once you’ve received a diagnosis, work with your doctor to create an asthma management plan.
An asthma management plan includes critical information on managing your disease. Your plan should include your name, emergency contact information, healthcare provider name and phone number, your disease severity classification, and a list of triggers that may prompt an asthma attack.
Once your management plan is in place, assess and monitor your control. This means being aware of the symptoms that may result in an asthma attack. Keep track of your symptoms and you will remain in control. Symptoms may include coughing, tightness in the chest, fatigue, activity limitations, and wheezing.
The next step in controlling your asthma is to understand your prescribed medications. Each asthma patient is different. What works for one person may not work for you. Your doctor will help you decide which treatment or medication is best suited for your level of severity. Know when to take the medication or when to use an inhaler.
Identifying your asthma triggers is helpful in limiting your exposure and avoiding an attack. Reduce your triggers by being aware of what causes an attack. Triggers may include stress, over-exertion, irritants, allergens, or emotions. Your healthcare provider can assist you in finding simple solutions to avoid flare-ups.
The last step in controlling your asthma is to participate in an asthma self-management group or class. Your doctor may recommend a support group that provides encouragement for you and your loved ones.
Proper Asthma Treatment
Asthma treatment varies depending on the level of severity. To properly manage your condition, your doctor may recommend medication in pill form or quick-relief inhalants. Long-term control medicines are designed to help prevent symptoms on a daily basis. Some of the most effective asthma medication reduces airway inflammation, which helps eliminate symptoms from even starting. The medications offer quick relief and the prevention of flare-ups.
Quick relief medications assist when a flare-up does occur. This type of medication is usually in the form of a short acting inhalant. The medicines are designed to relax the tight muscles and open up the airways. When the airways are open, air flows through them properly and breathing improves.
For more information or to make an appointment call Saint Clair Allergy & Asthma Center at 586-884-5656.