Managing Asthma: What to Know
Asthma afflicts about 25 million people in the United States. For many people it is a chronic disease, which means they live with it for years. Because of its chronic nature, asthma needs to be managed so that the patient can live as full a life as possible. Here are some ways to manage asthma:

Set Up an Action Plan

The asthma patient should set up an action plan with their doctor. This plan allows them to know when, where and how to take their medications, avoid the things that aggravate their asthma and know what to do if their symptoms get worse. It is often a chart with the patient's name, the doctor's name and contact numbers, the number of a nearby emergency room and a list of the patient's medications.

It's divided into a green zone, where the patient is doing well, a yellow zone where the asthma is worsening and a red zone, which is a medical emergency. The patient records their symptoms on this chart.

Use a Peak Flow Meter

This device can be used by the patient at home. It measures how well air is flowing in and out of the patient's lungs. The doctor teaches the patient how to use the peak flow meter and may help them learn how to use an inhaler if they need one.

An inhaler is a device filled with medications to ease the patient's breathing during an attack.

Identify Triggering Factors

These are factors that cause or worsen asthma attacks. They can be anything from smoke, air pollution, dust, mold, certain drugs or even cold air. The patient should know these triggers and avoid them.

Watching the Diet

People who have a diet that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as vitamins A and E seem to be less prone to asthma. A healthy diet not only provides these nutrients but helps the patient maintain a normal weight. Obesity is one risk factor for asthma.

Regular Check-Ups

The patient should keep regular appointments so the doctor can be up-to-date with the patient's asthma control. This helps the physician make whatever adjustments need to be made when comes to medications and other therapies.

Be Aware if Asthma Symptoms Are Worsening

The asthma patient or their caregiver should be alert to when the symptoms are getting worse. The patient may have symptoms of wheezing, coughing and shallow breathing more often. They may not be able to perform normal activities and need to stay home from school or work. They may notice that the peak flow number is too low or the numbers are unstable from one day to the next.

Other signs that the condition is worsening are:

- The patient having to rely more and more on their quick-relief inhaler.
- Other medicines not working as well.
- Attacks severe enough to warrant visits to the emergency room.

Asthma can be controlled and lived with if the patient works with their doctor. Other good news is that half of all children with asthma eventually outgrow it.
Asthma afflicts about 25 million people in the United States. For many people it is a chronic disease, which means they live with it for years. Because of its chronic nature, asthma needs to be managed so that the patient can live as full a life as possible. Here are some ways to manage asthma:

Set Up an Action Plan

The asthma patient should set up an action plan with their doctor.


This plan allows them to know when, where and how to take their medications, avoid the things that aggravate their asthma and know what to do if their symptoms get worse. It is often a chart with the patient's name, the doctor's name and contact numbers, the number of a nearby emergency room and a list of the patient's medications.

It's divided into a green zone, where the patient is doing well, a yellow zone where the asthma is worsening and a red zone, which is a medical emergency. The patient records their symptoms on this chart.

Use a Peak Flow Meter

This device can be used by the patient at home. It measures how well air is flowing in and out of the patient's lungs. The doctor teaches the patient how to use the peak flow meter and may help them learn how to use an inhaler if they need one.

An inhaler is a device filled with medications to ease the patient's breathing during an attack.

Identify Triggering Factors

These are factors that cause or worsen asthma attacks. They can be anything from smoke, air pollution, dust, mold, certain drugs or even cold air. The patient should know these triggers and avoid them.

Watching the Diet

People who have a diet that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as vitamins A and E seem to be less prone to asthma. A healthy diet not only provides these nutrients but helps the patient maintain a normal weight. Obesity is one risk factor for asthma.

Regular Check-Ups

The patient should keep regular appointments so the doctor can be up-to-date with the patient's asthma control. This helps the physician make whatever adjustments need to be made when comes to medications and other therapies.

Be Aware if Asthma Symptoms Are Worsening

The asthma patient or their caregiver should be alert to when the symptoms are getting worse. The patient may have symptoms of wheezing, coughing and shallow breathing more often. They may not be able to perform normal activities and need to stay home from school or work. They may notice that the peak flow number is too low or the numbers are unstable from one day to the next.

Other signs that the condition is worsening are:

- The patient having to rely more and more on their quick-relief inhaler.
- Other medicines not working as well.
- Attacks severe enough to warrant visits to the emergency room.

Asthma can be controlled and lived with if the patient works with their doctor. Other good news is that half of all children with asthma eventually outgrow it.