So, today’s post is late because I had planned to write tomorrow’s post instead, but I couldn’t make it make sense, until I realized that you have to know what asthma control is to understand it. So I’m going to write about asthma control.
Put simply, good asthma control happens when your asthma is managed with medication and lifestyle to a sufficient degree that your asthma has the minimum possible impact on your life.
Bad asthma control happens when your asthma is inadequately managed with medication and lifestyle, such that your asthma has a larger impact on your life than necessary.
For the vast majority of asthmatics (all mild intermittent and mild persistent, and most moderate asthmatics), that means good control according to their country’s asthma control guidelines. In Canada, this means all of the following:
- No daytime attacks
- No night-time symptoms
- Reliever medication use <4x/wk
- No school or work absenteeism due to asthma
- Normal lung function tests
For a minority of people with asthma (me among them), textbook asthma control is not possible. In our cases, good control is defined by our doctors.
Improving your asthma control is not only helpful to your quality of life and mental well-being, it’s also important for your personal safety. Poor asthma control is a risk factor for fatal and near fatal asthma. Asthma control is thus a safety issue in addition to a wellbeing issue.
If you have asthma, you might be wondering how to tell if you have poor asthma control? Here’s some signs of poor asthma control:
- Waking up at night one or more times a week because of asthma
- Rescue puffer does not work as quickly or as completely as it used to
- You’re using your puffer more than three times a week
- Your asthma is stopping you from regular activities, like exercise or housecleaning
- If you have a peak flow meter, your peak flow is regularly <80% of your personal best
- You’ve needed oral steroids for an asthma flare twice or more in the past year
What things help asthma control (maintenance treatments and lifestyle changes) and hinder it (triggers) will be discussed in later posts.