Asthma control: facts and myths

There are many misconceptions about asthma control. Find out whether some popular beliefs about asthma are facts or myths.

Fact or myth? It's normal to visit the emergency department once or twice a year when you have asthma.

This is a myth. Ending up in the emergency department because of your asthma symptoms is not a normal part of having asthma – it's a sign that something is wrong. There are treatments available that can help you manage increased symptoms and worsening asthma. Talk to your doctor about whether you're receiving the best possible treatment for your asthma, and what to do when your asthma seems to be getting worse.

If your symptoms are landing you in the emergency department, you're not alone. In the 2011 Survey on Living with Chronic Disease in Canada, they found that two-thirds of the "active" asthma sufferers had experienced an asthma exacerbation (which involved either a trip to the emergency department, an overnight stay in the hospital, on average experienced asthma symptoms 4 or more time per week or at least 1 night per week, disruption in usual activity due to asthma, or used reliever medication at least 4 times per week). A person with "active" asthma is someone who has experienced asthma symptoms or used medications for their asthma in the past 12 months.

Fact or myth? Poorly controlled asthma can cause people to change their activities.

This is a fact. In the Living with Chronic Disease in Canada survey, 22% of people with poorly controlled asthma had more than 1 of their usual activities limited by their asthma. If your asthma is getting in the way of your active lifestyle, or if you don't know whether your asthma is under control, talk to your doctor. There are treatments available than can help get your asthma under control and also help you manage periods where your asthma gets worse.

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