When Do You Need Help with Asthma Symptoms?

When Do You Need Help With Asthma Symptoms - Large

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When your asthma symptoms are under control, you sleep well at night, you breathe with relative ease, and you complete daily tasks unhindered. You can go about life pretty much as normal, taking regular peak flow measurements and using asthma inhalers as prescribed to monitor and minimize your condition.

But what if symptoms flare up?

"The patient needs to understand his or her disease process and work with her physician to know when to increase or decrease medication.”

Let’s say, you wake up coughing in the middle of the night. Your chest tightens. Or your breathing becomes more labored and you wheeze as you work.

Which symptoms can you handle on your own at home, following your asthma action plan? And when do you know it’s time to call your doctor? Or go to the emergency room?

Partner With Your Doctor

In all cases, effective asthma control requires an ongoing patient-physician partnership, “a two-way street,” says Sandeep Kapur, MD, of Middletown Pulmonary and Critical Care.

“One-way traffic will not help at all, because the patient needs to understand his or her disease process and work with her physician to know when to increase or decrease medication.”

Mild to Severe Asthma Signs

Dr. Kapur offers the following guide on the degrees of symptom control, those you can handle on your own and those that call for your physician’s help or emergency care:When Do You Need Help With Asthma Symptoms - In Content  

  • Mild (symptoms under control): Awakened by shortness of breath or wheezing one or two times a month; need short-acting inhaler less than two days a week; able to do all chores without difficulty
  • Moderate (consult with your physician for possible change in medication): Awakened by shortness of breath or wheezing two days a week; need short-acting inhaler more than two days a week; able to do chores with some limitation
  • Severe (consult with physician or seek emergency care): Awakened by shortness of breath or wheezing daily; need short-acting inhaler daily; unable to perform activities of daily living. Your doctor can help you learn to recognize symptoms of an asthma flare-up that call for emergency medical attention.

When managed properly, in partnership with your physician, Dr. Kapur said, “Asthma should not affect the quality of your life. You should be able to do things that a non-asthmatic person can do.

“People run marathons with asthma without any problems, as long as they understand the disease process, their triggers and the treatment options, as well as monitor their peak flows.”

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

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