Going to start out with some facts from the CDC. Breathe this information in. It's very relevant to what we're going to be talking about:
- About 1 in 12 people (over 25 million) have asthma, and the numbers are increasing every year.
- About 1 in 2 people (or around 12 million) with asthma had an asthma attack, but many asthma attacks could have been prevented.
- Asthma costs in the US are about $56 billion in medical costs, lost school and work days and early deaths.
If you're the 1-in-12, you need to have a plan for an attack.
On a Need to Know Basis
We want to get you started on creating your own personal asthma plan. Write it down. Share it with all important parties. We already talked about a plan for your child in a previous posting. This time, we're concentrating on you.
This disease varies from individual-to-individual. Come see us at the ENT Center of Austin for further suggestions. But until we've had a chance to chat, take a look at what you can do on your own:
- What is an emergency and when to make the call.
Usually you can handle this while you're at home. When you venture out, take your inhaler and your peak flow meter. Do you feel an attack coming on? You'll know it's at the door when breathing becomes stressed. Other signs include when you have trouble speaking, Your nostrils become wide when you try to inhale. Look at your peak flow meter. A low reading means you should seek help immediately.
It's an individual thing. That's why you need to note when you have attacks. Things like dust mites, cold air, mold, pollen, pet dander, smoke and respiratory infections are the most common triggers. You may have some that are not on the list. Write them down and avoid 'em.
- You may need to adjust your medications.
This all depends on the severity of the symptoms you experience. There are quick-relief inhalers or long-term medications such like inhaled corticosteroids. Simply be aware of what to use, what to expect and how long you need to stay on the regimen.
- Record peak flow readings.
Take peak flow readings everyday and jot it down in a small, pocket-sized notepad. Add the date and time to your journal. When your lungs report a low measurement, things aren't up to snuff. What we're all interested in is if your asthma is getting worse.
- Recognize and treat an asthma attack.
As already mentioned, get a small, pocket-sized notepad and track your symptoms at least twice a day. Let's say things get worse, follow your action plan as it pertains to quick-relief medications or other ways to get your symptoms under control.
- Write this down, too.
On that notepad you want to track how often you're using something like albuterol to relieve your problem. Also keep tabs on when you hit a coughing jag, start wheezing or experience shortness of breath.
- You Are the Judge.
Information on your disease is a vital record you must keep on yourself. Use a system like 1-2-3. One is the lowest degree of the incident. Three is the worst. Use this link. It's an online Asthma Control Test. It'll only take a few seconds to complete. Remember, information is a great defense: http://www.asthma.com/resources/asthma-control-test.html
Please make an appointment with the ENT Center of Austin for even more. We've gotten you started, but we can help you keep breathing without ruining your day.
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