Asthma is a long-term condition that affects your breathing. It causes the airways that lead to the lungs to swell. During an asthma attack, the airways swell and narrow. This makes it hard to breathe. You may wheeze or cough. If you have a bad attack, you may need emergency care.
There are two things to do to treat asthma.
You and your doctor can make an asthma action plan. It tells you what medicines you need to take every day to control asthma symptoms and what to do if you have an asthma attack. Your asthma action plan can help prevent and treat attacks.
When you keep your asthma under control, you can prevent severe attacks and lasting damage to your airways. You need to treat your asthma even when you are not having symptoms. Although asthma is a lifelong problem, you can still lead a full and active life.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Controller medicines reduce swelling in your lungs. They also prevent asthma attacks. Take your controller medicine exactly as prescribed. Talk to your doctor if you have any problems with your medicine.
Use your asthma action plan when you have an attack. Your quick-relief medicine will stop an asthma attack. It relaxes the muscles that get tight around the airways. If your doctor prescribed corticosteroid pills, take them as directed. They may take hours to work, but they may shorten the attack and help you breathe better.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of:
May 23, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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