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Asthma Management

Asthma is a chronic condition that cannot be cured.  It is a serious disease that can be life threatening.  The management of asthma should be done by an allergy specialist.  The NIH (national institute of health) has issued guidelines for the management of asthma, which include four steps and six goals.  The recommended steps include:

• Measurement: Asthma should be followed using standard measures to assess the severity of the asthma. These include assessing lung function using peak flow meters and spirometers.
• Environmental control: steps should be taken to remove the allergens (proteins which cause an allergic reaction) from the patients environment (such as his/her bedroom, home and work place or school).
• Medications: a program should be tailored to meet the needs of the individual and should include both long term measures to reduce the frequency of asthma flare-ups (or attacks) and measures to deal with acute episodes. 
• Education: Good communication between a patient and his/her allergist is essential. Family members should be included in discussions, especially when children are involved. 

Six general goals include:
   •     Reduced symptoms
   •     As normal breathing as possible
   •     Normal exercise and activity levels, when possible
   •     Prevent recurrent episodes and decrease severe attacks requiring emergent hospital visits.
   •     Optimized medical treatment, with minimized side effects.
   •     Satisfactory asthma care, meeting the goals and needs of the patient.

You and your physician should work together to be sure your asthma is well-managed.

Copyright © 2008-2010 Dr. Beth Cowan