Effective asthma treatment necessitates documenting symptoms and measuring how effectively your lungs perform regularly. In addition, taking an active role in asthma medication management will help you maintain better long-term asthma control, reduce asthma episodes, and avoid long-term complications.
Together with your doctor, create a written asthma action plan. This written plan will act as a guide for asthma therapy suited to your unique needs. In addition, it will assist you in following these three critical steps and keeping a good record of your asthma treatment:
1. Keep track of your symptoms.
Each day, keep an asthma journal and record your symptoms. Keeping track of your symptoms might help you notice when you need to make treatment changes in accordance with your asthma action plan. For example, use your asthma diary to keep track of the following:
When you exhale, you may notice a shortness of breath or a whistling sound (wheezing).
Sleep disruption is caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing.
Tightness or soreness in the chest.
Use of a quick-relief (rescue) inhaler, such as albuterol (Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA, ProAirHFA), and how many puffs you use – keep track of when you need to use your quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol (Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA, ProAirHFA), and how many puffs you take.
Asthma symptoms disrupt work, school, exercise, and other daily activities.
Symptoms of asthma during exercise
The color of the phlegm you cough up changes.
Sneezing and a runny nose are common hay fever symptoms.
Anything that appears to cause asthma flare-ups.
2. Keep track of how well your lungs are operating.
Your doctor may want you to keep track of the results of breathing tests regularly (lung function tests). Your asthma may be out of control if your lungs aren’t operating as well as they should. The following are the two main lung function tests:
Maximum flow. This test is performed at home using simple hand-held equipment known as a peak flow meter. Peak expiratory flow is a measurement of how quickly you can force air out of your lungs. Peak flow data are frequently expressed as a percentage of how well your lungs perform when they are at their best. This is referred to as your own greatest peak flow.
Spirometry. Spirometry tests can be performed in your doctor’s office using a piece of equipment known as a spirometer. At home, some people utilize a hand-held spirometer to collect measures.
Spirometry tests determine how much air your lungs can contain and how much air you can expel in a single second after taking a deep breath. This is known as forced expiratory volume (FEV1). Your FEV1 measurement is compared to people who do not have asthma. Like your peak flow data, this comparison is frequently reported as a percentage.
3. Modify treatment in accordance with your asthma action plan.
When your lungs aren’t performing as effectively as they should, you may need to change your medications in accordance with the treatment plan you developed with your doctor ahead of time. Your documented asthma action plan will tell you when and how to make changes.