Can I manage my asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can make breathing difficult. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed. With good asthma management, you should be able to live almost symptom-free and enjoy an active life. You can manage your asthma symptoms by:

  • knowing your triggers and avoiding them
  • having a written asthma action plan
  • learning how to use medications properly
  • working with a Certified Respiratory Educator to learn about asthma control.

The goal of asthma management is no asthma symptoms (for example, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath).

Good asthma management means:

  • no missed days of school or work because of asthma symptoms
  • normal physical activity
  • no night-time or early morning symptoms that disturb sleep
  • not having to take asthma reliever medicine (the blue puffer) more than four times a week, except before exercising.

Know the warning signs of poor asthma control

For many people, asthma symptoms get worse slowly. By knowing the early warning signs of poor asthma control, you can help to prevent a major breathing emergency. It's important to keep in mind that asthma symptoms are not the same for everyone and symptoms may change over time.

To understand the difference between good asthma management and poor asthma management, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When you sleep, do you wake yourself up with coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath?
  • Do you have asthma symptoms when you wake up in the morning?
  • Does your reliever inhaler (blue puffer) quickly and completely relieve your asthma symptoms?
  • Aside from exercise, do you use your reliever inhaler more than 3-4 times a week?
  • Do your asthma symptoms stop you from doing regular activities like exercise?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, see your doctor. Your doctor can help you get control of your asthma. Take a copy of the asthma action plan and asthma diary card to your doctor. Ask for help in filling these out.

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