Keeping your asthma under control involves keeping track of your symptoms and doing tests to see how well your lungs are performing. It helps to work with your doctor to create a written plan and make adjustments to it when necessary. You need to take an active role in controlling your asthma if you want to prevent attacks.
Keep track of your symptoms
The best way to keep track of your symptoms is to record them in an asthma diary every day. You may experience some of the following symptoms when you have asthma:
- A tight, painful chest
- Wheezing when you exhale
- Disturbed sleep due to coughing or difficulty breathing
- Symptoms when you exercise or perform any other daily activities
- Hay fever symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing
Changes in phlegm color
You will also need to keep track of when you need to use a quick-relief inhaler and write down how many puffs you use. A quick-relief inhaler contains a fast-acting medication like albuterol and using it quickly opens up your airways and makes breathing easier, helping to prevent an asthma attack.
If you realize your inhaler is no longer working, you need a quick and efficient way to renew a prescription. At ExpressMedRefills.com, you are able to get prescriptions filled from the comfort of your home. You can sign up for a consultation in minutes and you will be contacted by a U.S. certified online doctor within two hours.
Measure how well your lungs are working
Your doctor is likely to want to measure your lung function periodically to check how well your asthma is controlled. There are two main tests, one of which you can do at home and the other which is usually done in your doctor’s office.
Peak flow test: The peak flow test is done using a peak flow meter which is a device you can hold in your hand. It measures how fast you can force air out of your lungs. A peak flow reading is usually gauged as a percentage of how your lungs work at their best.
Spirometry test: This test is done using a spirometer. It measures how much air your lungs can hold and how much air you exhale in a second after taking a deep breath. A comparison is made with the typical measurement for people who don’t have asthma and this is usually shown as a percentage.
If your lung test readings are less than 60% of your predicted personal best, your asthma is poorly controlled. If they are at more than 80% of your predicted personal best, your asthma is well controlled.
Adjust your treatment
If your lungs aren’t working as well as they should, it may be necessary to adjust your medication. Long-term control medications like inhaled corticosteroids are preventive and help to keep asthma under control. They treat the inflammation of the airway that leads to the symptoms. When used daily, they can reduce or even eliminate asthma attacks.
If you’re experiencing symptoms like coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath daily and throughout the night, your asthma is poorly controlled. You will need to talk to your doctor about whether to increase or change your medications.
If your asthma is well-controlled, you may be able to reduce the amount you take. You may need to increase your asthma medication at certain times of the year if seasonal allergies trigger your asthma.
The severity and symptoms of asthma are always changing so it’s imperative to meet with your doctor regularly to assess your treatment plan.