Knowing if Your Asthma is in Control

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What does it mean for your asthma to be “under control?” You might hear the word “control” mentioned frequently in discussing asthma.
During an asthma attack, you might describe your breathing as being out of control. Your healthcare provider might talk about the need to keep your symptoms in control, and you might be given a prescription for something referred to as a controller medication.
So how do you know if your asthma is in control?
Your asthma is under control when your symptoms no longer interfere with your lifestyle and your normal activities. Asthma should not be the cause of missed work, school, sleep, or family functions.
You should not have any signs or symptoms that interfere with your breathing, such as: recurring coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and difficulty inhaling or exhaling. Your symptoms shouldn’t wake you up at night, and you shouldn’t need urgent care.
When it comes to medication, your daily controller medicine helps you remain in control of your symptoms by lessening the sensitivity of your airways to triggers, the things that make your asthma flare up.
You should not have the need for your emergency quick-relief medication more than twice per week. If you do, tell your doctor. This means that your controller medication is not working as it should, and you might need a different prescription or a change in the dosage.
If you test your breathing with an instrument called a peak flow meter, your lungs are functioning well and you are in control if your reading is in the green zone.
There is no cure for asthma. Your airways will always be sensitive. But together, you and members of your healthcare team can work to get your asthma under control.
Animation Copyright © Milner-Fenwick

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