Whether you are suffering from asthma for last many years, or you have only recently been diagnosed, there are some things that you can do to help improve your chances of staying well. It is necessary to know about asthma and how the most common asthma medications work to deal with it. Also, recognizing your individual triggers and using tricks and tips in your daily routine can help create a big difference to how you feel.
Asthma-Some basic Facts
Asthma is a condition that affects the airways in the lungs, causing them to swell, which in turn narrows the tubes that air passes through. You may experience symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Airways of an asthma patient can be inflamed even when he/she feel fine. If airways in your lungs become so narrowed that you have difficulty breathing, it’s called an asthma flare-up or asthma attack. An asthma attack can happen at any time even when you are asleep.
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An effective asthma treatment needs routine tracking of asthma symptoms and finding how well your lungs are functioning. Participating actively in managing your asthma treatment will help you maintain and prevent asthma attack that stays for long as well as avoids long-term problems.
Try to make an action plan with your health care provider. This written health plan will guide your self-management efforts. The plan helps to recall instructions for care that are given by the physician to you as well as remind you that adherence will help them achieve the results they wish. Tailor the self-management approach to the needs and literacy levels. Follow the following important steps and keep a detailed diary of your asthma treatment:
Track your Asthma Symptoms:
Note down your signs and symptoms on a daily basis. Regular tracking of symptoms will help you to find when you need to make treatment adjustment according to your health plan. Consider your asthma diary to note:
- Shortness of breath or whistling sounds when you exhale
- Tightness in the chest or pain
- Trouble sleeping caused by coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing
- Occurrence of asthma symptoms during an exercise session
- Symptoms of hay fever including a runny nose and sneezing
- Anything that seems to trigger an asthma attack
- Change the color of phlegm you cough up
- Note down when you need to use a quick-relief inhaler such as albuterol, as well as write how many puffs you have taken
Include how well your lungs are functioning:
Your physician may provide you periodic results of lung function tests or breathing tests. In case your lungs are not working properly as they should be, your problem may not be under control. Following are the two main lung function tests:
- Spirometry- It is performed by your physician at his/her clinic with the help of a machine called spirometer. You may also use a hand-held spirometer to take measurements at home after consulting your physicians.
The instrument measures how much air your lungs can hold and how much you can exhale in one second after you have taken a deep breath. This measurement can be called as forced expiratory volume (FEV).
- Peak flow- This peak flow test can easily be performed at home with a simple hand-held device called a peak flow meter. A peak flow measurement indicates how rapidly you can force air out of your lungs. The readings of a peak flow are sometimes gauged as a percentage of how your lungs work at their best, and this can be called your personal nest peak flow.
- Adjust treatment according to your Asthma Health Plan:
When you realize that your lungs are not functioning properly, you may require adjusting your asthma medications according to the written health plan that you made along with your health care provider. Your health plan will help you to know exactly when and how to make adjustments during asthma care.
Following are the types of Asthma Medications:
- Long-term control medications- These include inhaled corticosteroids that are the most important medications used to control asthma. These medicines treat the inflamed airways in lungs that are responsible for causing asthma symptoms. Regular use of asthma medicine can reduce or even eliminate asthma flare-ups.
- Quick-relief inhalers- These are a kind of fast acting medications and are sometimes called rescue inhalers. Its administration quickly opens your airways and make breathing easier.
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Make sure that you use your asthma medicine properly. Correct use of asthma medications will help your asthma under control.