Asthma is more common these days than it used to be. The good news is it's also a lot easier to manage and control.
Since more teens have asthma, you're probably used to seeing people take a break from sports to use an inhaler or take a moment after school to test their airflow with a peak flow meter. But even though asthma is a part of so many people's daily lives, there are times when they can feel annoyed or frustrated at having asthma — just as they get annoyed or frustrated by anything else.
Different people have different reactions to the ways that asthma affects their lives. For example, some worry that they might have to avoid all physical activities — even those approved by their doctors — and miss out on fun. Others go to the opposite extreme, denying they have asthma at all and maybe forgetting or refusing to take the medications that can control it. Still others find that asthma is a convenient excuse to get out of chores or gym class.
If you have asthma and don't want it to have control over you, take control first.
The best tool for controlling asthma is something your doctor gives you called an asthma action plan. Following all the steps described in an action plan allows people with asthma to enjoy daily activities just like everyone else.
Your asthma action plan offers you the best protection against potentially dangerous (not to mention embarrassing) episodes — such as having an asthma attack at a party where people are smoking.
Unfortunately, people may not always stick with their plan for lots of different reasons. Maybe they forget to take medications. Perhaps they don't completely understand why they're supposed to take certain steps or medications. A few might feel embarrassed about checking their airflow or using an inhaler in front of others. And some may mistakenly think they don't need medicine after they start feeling better — putting them at risk for potentially dangerous flare-ups.
Here are some simple steps that can help you get around these common problems:
Using a management plan to deal with asthma is good for more than your health. Getting used to following an asthma action plan can give you the discipline to stick with a plan and succeed in other areas of life as well.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: August 2011
|American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.|
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
|AIRNow A cross-agency U.S. government website, AIRNow provides useful air quality information, including daily Air Quality Index forecasts and details on conditions in more than 300 U.S. cities.|
|Definition: Controller Medications Many people with asthma need to take medication every day to control their asthma.|
|Definition: Rescue Medications Rescue medications are asthma medicines that work quickly.|
|Bronchitis Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. When a person has bronchitis, it may be harder for air to pass in and out of the lungs.|
|Dealing With an Asthma Flare-Up Asthma flare-ups, or attacks, can be handled, but it's even better if you can prevent them from happening. Find out how to deal with flare-ups.|
|Asthma Millions of teens in the United States have asthma, a lung condition that causes difficulty breathing. Here are the basics on symptoms, triggers, and treatments.|
|Asthma Center Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.|
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