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Asthma Management

With good asthma management you should be able to lead a normal healthy lifestyle. The goals of asthma management are simple and can be realistically achieved if you and your physician develop an action plan to address potential problems with your asthma. These goals are:

  1. Attend work or school with no time off due to asthma
  2. No emergency room or hospital visits
  3. No day or night time symptoms
  4. Minimal or no side effects from medication

First things First:

Get diagnosed and learn to recognize symptoms.

If you have intermittent asthma:

Avoid triggers
Have rescue medicine always available

If you have persistent asthma:

Avoid triggers
Have rescue medicine always available
Take controller medicines every day as directed by your physician
See your physician every 3 to 6 months

Having an asthma action plan is important in the management of your asthma. Each plan is developed by you and your physician to address your individual asthma needs. Your action plan should include:

The medications you are taking
Dosages
How often you should take
How to adjust medications in response to symptoms
Symptoms requiring closer monitoring
Physician office numbers
Local emergency room numbers

Asthma action plans should also include provisions for you to record your daily peak flow measurements . Peak flows further enhance asthma management because they can detect a reduction in lung function before you are aware of any symptoms and therefore prompt you into action. When visiting your physician, make sure to take your peak flow measurements with you so that he/she can see your progress and make adjustments to your asthma action plan accordingly.

Peak Flow Meters

Your physician will sometimes order a peak flow meter for home monitoring of your asthma symptoms. Peak flow meters measure the amount of air you can blow out of your lungs. Because you may not always feel your asthma symptoms, Obtaining daily peak flow measurements can help you determine how well your lungs are functioning. In general you should obtain measurements twice daily; once in the morning when you first awaken and once in the evening. Based on those measurements you will know whether you need to take your quick relief medications in addition to your long term control medications.

Daily peak flow measurements are compared to your best measurements when you are well and do not have any asthma symptoms. This is known as your personal best and can be established after about two weeks of daily recordings.

The peak flow meter can be thought of as the traffic signal for your lungs:

Green Light   Yellow Light   Red Light
Green Traffic Light   Yellow Traffic Light   Yellow Traffic Light
         
If your peak flow is 80%-100% of your personal best. CONTINUE taking your asthma control medications as prescribed.   If your peak flow is 50%-79% of your personal best. Use CONTINUE and begin taking your quick relief medications and contact your physician.   If your peak flow is 50% or less of your personal best. STOP and seek medical attention should be sought immediately.