How to Gain Good Control of Your Asthma
So you’re tired of your asthma controlling you and now you’ve decided to gain control of your athma. The question lingering is: How do I gain control of my asthma?
You’ll want to do all of the following:
Call your doctor. Let him know your concerns.
- I’m unable to exercise
- I’m unable to even walk across a room
- I’ve been missing too much work
- I’ve been using my rescue inhaler every day
- I feel chest tightness every spring
Work with your doctor and set goals you want to achieve:
- I want to be able to exercise
- I want to be able to walk without getting short of breath
- I don’t want to miss any work days/ school days
- I want to cut back on my rescue inhaler usage
- I want to make it through a spring without having asthma sypmptoms
Your doctor will tweak your medicine regime. What medicine works best for you may be based on trial and error. Usually after 40 days on a new medicine you should notice if it’s working.
Meet with your doctor again. Until you and your doctor decide your asthma is controlled, you should meet with him at least every six months. He may tweak your medicine regime until control is met.
Listen to your doctor: Part of gaining control will be dependent on you trusting and listening to your doctor. He’s the expert. If he recommends a new asthma medicine, don’t be afraid to try it.
Try new medicine: Give new medicines time to work. Don’t be afraid to give it some time, even if you have some minor side effects. When I started taking Advair this caused me to tremble. However, after a few weeks my rescue inhaler use greatly diminished, and the trembling subsided.
Take all your medicine exactly as prescribed: You will never gain control of your asthma if you’re a bad patient. Be a good boy or girl and take your medicine as your doctor orders. It may not be easy at first, but soon you’ll reap the rewards as your asthma gets better and better.
Take your asthma controller medicine every day, even when you’re feeling good: Medicines like Advair, Symbicort, Singulair, Flovent, and Pulmicort take two to three weeks to get into your system, and work to keep your lungs open. If you don’t take them every day, your asthma may not get better. If you quit taking them, your asthma may get worse.
Learn your asthma triggers and try to avoid them. If dust triggers your asthma, let someone else do the dusty jobs. Dust proof your home. If cigarette smoke triggers your asthma, try to avoid it. If molds trigger your asthma, get rid of standing water, or paint moldy walls.
If your asthma gets worse, let your doctor know right away. Even if you think your asthma is getting worse, let your doctor know. He may make a tweak here or a tweak there that may make all the difference.
You and your doctor will become an asthma control team, and working with him you should be able to gain good control of your asthma. It may take some time, yet it can happen.
John Bottrell is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).