How to manage asthma

The goal of treatment is to see that the patient is :

  • Free of symptoms and having easy breathing (i.e. having the best possible lung function).
  • Having a comfortable sleep at night.
  • Able to participate actively in activities of his choice.
  • Prevented from missing work or school.
  • Prevented from hospitalization and emergency visits.
  • Education forms an important part of controlling asthma. As we all know prevention is better than cure, it becomes important to make the patient (and family) aware of all aspects of asthma, so that the asthmatic attacks can be prevented, or even if the attack occurs it can be timely treated and managed.

Management of asthma

Every person with asthma requires an individual management plan made by his doctor. The plan includes the following :

  • Identifying and minimizing contact with the asthma trigger. The patient must try to find out what things start or aggravate his asthma symptoms and then try to avoid exposure to them. Ask your doctor how to control your triggers.
  • Monitor your asthma and recognize the warning signs and respond quickly to them. The patient can record his symptoms and progress in a diary or in the Individualised Health Management Plan. Tell your doctor about your warning signs and plan out a management chart with him. There is a simple device called a peak flow meter, which is used as a standard monitoring device for asthma. In severe cases reading may be taken 2-3 times but in moderate and mild cases a single reading each morning is sufficient. It is important to take the readings daily at the same time and to sit and stand in the same position in order to keep an accurate record. Ask your doctor how to use it.
  • Know about the warning signs of asthma : Immediately consult the doctor if any of theses danger signs are there:
    • Symptoms gets worse, even after the medication has been given and had time to work
    • Your peak flow number goes down, or does not improve after treatment with bronchodilator, or drops to 50% or less of personal best
    • You are conscious of your breathing
    • You are felling anxious, agitated and are sweating
    • You are unable to speak complete sentences and are falling short of breath
    • You stop playing or working and cannot start again
    • Your lips or fingernails turn gray or blue
  • Understand and take your medicines as advised by your doctor. Ask your doctor to show you how to use an inhaler.
  • Learn about asthma : Those patients who learn more about asthma are the most successful in controlling it. It is always better to be updated on your disease.