4 Mistakes that Sabotage Asthma Control

Do you need to use your fast-acting relief inhaler two or more times a week? If so, your asthma probably isn't controlled nearly as well as it could be.

Mistakes that Weaken Asthma Control

When you find yourself dealing with frequent asthma flare-ups, chances are you're missing some key steps in your asthma management plan. Here, four ways you may be sabotaging your asthma control, causing you to suffer unnecessarily.

1.      Not having an asthma action plan: When dealing with asthma, have a detailed asthma action plan that lists your triggers, identifies your early warning signs, and informs you how to head off your symptoms at the very first sign. Your doctor can help you develop this plan so you can refer to it regularly, and keep your asthma from getting out of hand.

2.      Forgetting to track your symptoms: Part of maintaining good asthma control is measuring your lung capacity and symptoms on a daily basis so you can recognize any changes up front. A peak flow monitor (a plastic device you can breathe into in order to measure your lung capacity) can be helpful in getting to the root of the problem. In addition to tracking your breathing, you'll also want to pay attention to how you feel and note any symptoms you experience in the event you need to change your treatment plan to maintain asthma control.

3.      Not using your medication as directed: You might be tempted to skip your asthma control medications when you feel fine, thinking that you don't need it anymore. However, the problem with neglecting your medications is that your asthma control can lapse and your symptoms can gradually worsen. Before you know it, you'll end up needing to use your fast-acting relief inhaler instead. If you do believe you need less medication than prescribed, always let your doctor adjust your dose appropriately and safely instead of trying to do it yourself.

4.      Allowing yourself to get sick. While you can't avoid all illnesses, part of maintaining asthma control is staying as healthy as you can. This is because when you fall prey to germs, this can lead to worsening of your symptoms. For instance, colds, flus, and sinus infections can irritate your sensitive airways, increase mucus build-up, and thereby exacerbate your asthma. Getting plenty of sleep, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding crowds and sick people can all help prevent sickness.


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"Lung Disorders on Controlling Asthma: Johns Hopkins Special Reports." Johns Hopkins Medicine. University Health Publishing and Johns Hopkins Medicine, 29 Oct. 2009. Web. 11 Dec. 2010.

"Take Control of Your Asthma." American Lung Association. LungUSA.org, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2010.