Taming your asthma

Is your asthma out of control? Here are a few ways to tame it:

Know your enemy

Knowledge is the key to fighting asthma. Be sure you understand how asthma affects your body, which factors seem to trigger your asthma, how to use your asthma medications properly, and what to do if your asthma gets worse.

More than half of all Canadians who have been diagnosed with asthma do not have their symptoms under control. Over time, poorly controlled asthma can lead to irreversible damage to your airways. But, you can avoid this permanent change and live symptom-free by taking an active role in managing your symptoms.

Avoid your asthma triggers

A "trigger" is something that causes your asthma to flare up. Each person has their own set of asthma triggers, although people may have certain triggers in common.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • air pollution or cigarette smoke
  • perfumes or strong smells
  • dust mites
  • mould
  • pollen
  • cockroaches
  • pets
  • exercise
  • cold air
  • strong emotions
  • food additives (such as sulfites)
  • viral infections
  • some types of medications (such as ASA (aspirin), anti-inflammatory medications, and beta-blockers)
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Try to identify your triggers by taking note of things that were happening around the times that your asthma flared up. Once you know your triggers, take steps to avoid them.

Use your medications as directed

Make sure you understand the purpose of each of your asthma medications and how to use them properly. There are 2 main types of medication: relievers and controllers .

Relievers ( rescue inhalers) are used as needed to manage the symptoms of an asthma attack, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, or coughing.

Controllers are used to reduce inflammation and mucus in the airways; this can make the airways less sensitive to triggers and help keep your asthma under control. Controller medications must be used on a regular basis in order to be effective. If you stop using them because you feel better, the airway inflammation may return.

If you're not sure whether your medication is a reliever or a controller, or how to use it, you're not alone. If you have concerns about your asthma inhalers, don't be embarrassed to ask your doctor or pharmacist .

Talk to your doctor about asthma control

Your doctor can help you tell whether your asthma is out of control, make sure you are receiving a treatment that's right for you, and give you instructions on what to do when your asthma gets worse. Don't be caught off-guard. Talk to your doctor about what to do when your asthma gets worse.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Asthma-Control-Matters