The U.S. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma recommend:
- Assessment and Monitoring. Doctors should use multiple measures to determine a patient’s current condition and future risk for worsening of condition. Even patients who show few daily effects of asthma may be in danger of sudden worsening of symptoms.
- Patient Education. Patients should be taught skills to self-monitor and manage asthma. Doctors should give patients a written asthma action plan, which includes information on daily treatment and ways to recognize worsening asthma.
- Control of Environmental Factors and Other Asthma Triggers. The guidelines outline new approaches for reducing exposure to allergens. They also address how treating co-existing chronic conditions (such as rhinitis, sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux, and obesity) can help improve asthma control.
- Medications. A stepwise approach is recommended where medication types and doses are increased or decreased based on the level of asthma control.
Symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
Review Date: 05/03/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.