How Can You Take Control of your Asthma?

Asthma management is a team effort. Good communication between you and those involved in your care is essential. The following is a guideline for good control.

  1. Take your asthma medication
    Take asthma medications as prescribed by a physician. This may mean taking an inhaled steroid to control inflammation on a long term basis. Discuss with your physician any concerns you may have about taking asthma medication and report any side-effects that you experience.

    Your physician should refer you for a breathing test to confirm your diagnosis and assess the severity of your asthma. The information from these tests will help determine the right therapy for you.

    There are 2 main types of medication:

    Controllers

    Medications that control asthma by preventing symptoms include anti-inflammatory medication (inhaled steroids), anti-leukotrienes, long-acting bronchodilators and anti-allergics. Controllers are meant to be taken every day, even when you are symptom-free. Controllers are not helpful during an asthma attack as they do not work right away to relieve symptoms.

    Relievers

    Relievers are medications that are used for quick relief of asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing. These medications are called short-acting bronchodilators. Bronchodilators relax the muscles around the bronchi, making breathing easier. They work quickly and should be used as a “rescue” medication when asthma symptoms are worsening or during an asthma attack. Bronchodilators can also be taken before exercise to prevent exercise induced asthma symptoms.

    Medication Tips
  1. Avoid Asthma Triggers
    Asthma triggers are things that cause asthma symptoms. They can be divided into allergic and non-allergic triggers. Asthma triggers need to be identified so that measures can be taken to reduce exposure to them where possible. Skin testing by an allergist can help identify allergic triggers.

    Allergic Triggers
    • Animal allergens
    • Dust mites
    • Pollens
    • Moulds
    • Cockroach allergens
    • Certain foods

    Non-Allergic Triggers
    • Smoke
    • Fumes and perfumes
    • Colds, and chest infections
    • Cold air
    • Emotional stress
    • Non-asthma medications such as aspirin, blood pressure medications and certain eye drops
    • Food additives such as MSG or sulphites

  2. Use an Asthma Action Plan

    An action plan prescribed by a physician allows you to adjust your medications depending on your symptoms and peak flow readings. It can also help you decide when you to consult with your physician or visit the hospital.

  3. Education and Regular Follow-Up

    Education is an essential part of asthma management. At Concordia University Health Services asthma education is available with a nurse educator. To find out how you can make an appointment please refer to the section “Asthma Education Centre at Concordia University Health Services”.

  4. Regular follow-up with a physician is essential for well-controlled asthma.

    Education is an essential part of asthma management.  At Concordia University Health Services asthma education is available with a nurse educator.  To find out how you can make an appointment please refer to the section “Asthma Education Centre at Concordia University Health Services”.

    Regular follow-up with a physician is essential for well-controlled asthma. 

Last updated: Thursday, October 6, 2005