Your doctor says that yes, you have asthma. Well, breathe easy-because asthma can be controlled. But YOU need to take an active role in managing it.
You don't have to do this alone though. In fact, the key to managing your asthma effectively is to work closely with your doctor or other health care provider to learn how to handle it on a routine basis.
Asthma Management Partnership
Think of your doctor and his or her staff as your teachers and partners in asthma management: They can work with you on an ongoing basis to keep your asthma under control.
Their role in this partnership is to help you learn how to manage your asthma by:
- Talking with you about your asthma treatment goals and how to achieve them;
- Providing you with a written asthma action plan-and making sure you understand and know how to use it;
- Discussing the medicines you should take-explaining:
- What they do,
- How much to take,
- When to take each of them,
- How to take each of them, and
- What, if any, side effects you should look for;
- Demonstrating how to take your medicines;
- Showing you how to monitor your asthma by using a peak flow meter;
- Discussing your asthma triggers with you and providing information about how to avoid them;
- Describing the possible warning signs of an asthma attack and explaining clearly what you should do if you feel an attack coming on;
- Addressing any concerns you have about any aspect of their recommendations; and
- Answering ALL your questions about managing your asthma simply and clearly.
Your role in this partnership is to:
- Ask questions and participate in decisions about your treatment.
- Discuss your treatment goals with your doctor and come to an agreement on what you can expect from treatment.
- Do what your doctor recommends, including taking your medicines as prescribed and monitoring your asthma on a regular basis.
- Keep your doctor informed about changes in your condition.
- Visit your doctor about every 6 months to review your written asthma action plan.
Partnering with your doctor in managing your asthma is one of the key actions you need to take to get-and keep-your asthma under control. The following sections provide information about the three other actions you need to take to control your asthma.
You and your doctor will work together to record the specifics about each of these three actions in your asthma action plan. A sample plan appears on page 44. As you read through the following sections, write down on this plan the actions that you and your doctor have agreed upon.