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Asthma in Teens and Adults - Living With Asthma

You can control the impact of asthma with an asthma action plan. A good action plan reminds you to take your daily controller medicines and to be aware of your symptoms. It also tells you how to make quick decisions about medicine and treatment when you need to.

To manage your asthma and get the most out of your asthma action plan, know how to monitor your peak airflow, identify asthma triggers, and take your asthma medicine correctly.

Learn about asthma, and see your doctor

  • Educate yourself about asthmaEducate yourself about asthma. Your doctor may give you a questionnaire to help you find out what you already know about asthma.
  • See your doctor regularly to monitor your asthma. How often you'll need checkups depends on how well your asthma is controlled. Checkups are recommended every 1 to 6 months. Bring your asthma plan to appointments.
  • Set goals that relate to your quality of life. Being able to measure your success motivates you to follow your asthma plan consistently. Decide what you want to be able to do. Have nights free of symptoms? Be able to exercise on a regular basis? Feel secure in knowing you can deal with an asthma attack? Work with your doctor to see if your goals are realistic and how to meet them.
  • Know your barriers and solutionsKnow your barriers and solutions. What may prevent you from following your plan? These may be physical barriers, such as living far from your doctor or pharmacy. Or you may have emotional barriers, such as fears about asthma, or unrealistic expectations. Discuss your barriers with your doctor, and work to find solutions.

Follow your asthma action plan

actionset.gif Asthma: Taking Charge of Your Asthma
actionset.gif Asthma: Using an Asthma Action Plan

Monitor peak expiratory flow

It's easy to underestimate how severe your symptoms are. You may not notice symptoms until your lungs are functioning at 50% of your personal best measurement.

Measuring peak expiratory flow (PEF) is a way to keep track of asthma symptoms at home. Doing this can help you know when your lung function is getting worse before it drops to a dangerously low level. You can do this with a peak flow meter camera.gif.

actionset.gif Asthma: Measuring Peak Flow

Know your asthma triggers

A trigger is anything that can lead to an asthma attack. A trigger can be smoke, air pollution, allergens, some medicines, or even stress. Avoiding triggers will help decrease the chance of having an asthma attack.

actionset.gif Asthma: Identifying Your Triggers

In the case of allergy triggers, avoiding them will help control inflammation in the airways. If you have asthma triggered by an allergen, taking antihistamine medicine may help you manage the allergy. It may limit the allergy's effect on your asthma.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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