Learn to keep asthma under control

Quickly gaining control of asthma symptoms is the primary goal of asthma management, yet a new survey shows that more than 70 percent of people who have mild to moderate asthma and already are taking medication, don’t know that national asthma guidelines exist to guide their treatment.

Of the more than 20 million Americans who have asthma, the majority of sufferers are classified as having mild or moderate asthma. Current asthma treatment guidelines state that asthma falls into four categories and each has its own recommended treatment regimen.

The recent Harris survey for the Amer-ican Academy of Allergy Asthma and Im-munology was commissioned as part of a national “Be Stepwise About Asthma” ed-ucational campaign focused on patient awareness about asthma control.

“Successful asthma management begins with good communication between a patient and a physician on the guidelines,” stated Dr. Gillian Shepherd, clinical associate professor of medicine, Cornell Univer-sity and past chairman of the AAAAI Pub-lic Education Committee. “This dialogue helps a patient better understand their asthma, what the treatment course is and whe-ther they are being ‘stepwise’ about their asthma. Asthma symptoms can change, and patients need to work with their doctors to make sure they are taking the right medication for their symptoms.”

The survey found nearly 90 percent of caregivers and 75 percent of asthma pa-tients said they would find it useful to have a set of questions to help facilitate dialogue with their doctors.

To help, the AAAAI offers a free bro-chure, “Be Safe, Be Smart, Be Stepwise About Asthma,” that provides tips on management and questions to ask your doctors:

• What’s the appropriate treatment?

• How do I know if my asthma is under control?

• Can my asthma treatment be reduced?

• Can I maintain normal activity?

• What do I do if I have an attack?

• How can I prevent an attack?

• Am I being stepwise about my asthma?

The brochure also shows how to determine the severity of your asthma, offers an overview of likely treatments and gives an easy-to-understand explanation of how stepping down can work for you.

Copies of the free brochure are available by visiting aaaai.org or by calling (800) 822-2762.