Have you got a handle on your asthma? Some asthma sufferers have no idea how bad their asthma actually is. To find out whether your asthma is out of control, ask yourself:
- Am I having asthma symptoms (e.g., coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath) during the day, 4 or more days per week?
- Does my asthma wake me up at night?
- Have I recently missed school or work because of my asthma?
- Have I cut back on my usual activities because of my asthma?
- Have I recently gone to the emergency room or spent time in the hospital because of my asthma?
- Do I need to use my reliever medication (a fast-acting asthma medication that quickly relieves symptoms) 4 or more times per week (not counting puffs taken before exercise)?
- Have I experienced any unwanted effects from my asthma medications?
- If you use a peak flow meter (a device that helps you measure your lung function): Have my peak flow meter readings been getting worse?
- Have there been any changes in my routine or environment lately (e.g., getting a pet, spending more time around smokers)?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may need to change how you're managing your asthma. Speak to your doctor about your asthma treatment. Your doctor may:
- review the way you are taking your medications to make sure that you are using them properly
- review your medications to see if you need to add or change medications or to increase medication doses
- recommend ways to avoid asthma triggers (especially if something in your environment has changed, such as exposure to smoke or pets)
For more information about determining how well your asthma is being managed, take the "Take the Asthma Control Challenge" quiz in the Asthma Channel.
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