During an asthma attack, the airways swell and narrow. This makes it hard to breathe. Although asthma is a lifelong disease, treatment can help control it and help you stay healthy.
You and your doctor will make an asthma action plan that outlines the two approaches to taking charge of asthma:
Using the asthma action plan also helps you keep track of your asthma and know how well your treatment is working.
If you or your child has been recently diagnosed, it may seem like there is a lot to remember. But the things you need to do to take charge of your asthma are really quite simple. With some practice, they will become part of your normal routine.
An action plan is based on zones defined by your symptoms, your peak flow, or both. There are three zones: green, yellow, and red. Your action plan tells you what to do when you are in each zone.
Check your symptoms and/or peak flow on a regular basis, and use your action plan to see what zone you are in. If you have yellow zone symptoms or your peak flow drops below 85% of your personal best measurement, follow your action plan. To figure out what 85% of your personal best measurement is, multiply your personal best measurement by 0.85. For example, if your personal best peak flow is 400, then 85% of that is 400 times 0.85, which is 340. To figure what 60% of your personal best peak flow is, multiply your personal best measurement by 0.60.
Take the actions listed in your action plan. You may need to go to the emergency room or be admitted to the hospital.
It's important to monitor your peak flow:
Keep your regular follow-up appointments. During checkups, your doctor will ask if your symptoms and/or peak flow have held steady, improved, or gotten worse. He or she will also ask if you have asthma symptoms during exercise or at night. This information can help your doctor know if your asthma category has changed or if you need to change medicines or doses.
When you go to your doctor:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineDonald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and ImmunologyElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofMarch 25, 2017
Current as of: March 25, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
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