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How To Know If Asthma Is Under Control

Diagnosing Asthma And Copd With Pft

How do I know if my asthma is under control?

I explained how a PFT can help diagnose asthma in my post at What Are PFTs? I explained how a PFT can hep diagnose COPD in my post on this site, What Are PFTs?

So, if you read those, you know what an FEV1 is. You know how this can be used to determine if you have COPD. Still, heres a quick review. You do a PFT. You do a pre and post FVC. A computer determines your FEV1. This is the best indicator of airflow limitation.

You then use a bronchodilator. This can be either an inhaler or breathing treatment. Then you do a second FVC. Heres how you determine if its asthma or COPD.

  • COPD. By its basic definition, its persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation. Your pre and post bronchodilator FEV1 is less than 80%. Your post bronchodilator FEV1 is not much different than your pre bronchodilator FEV1. This shows that airflow limitation is persistent. It is not reversed with time or treatment. This confirms a diagnosis of COPD.1
  • Asthma. By its basic definition, respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation are intermittent and vary in intensity. Asthma attacks are reversible with time or treatment. Your post bronchodilator FEV1 improves by 12% or more. This shows airflow limitation is reversible. This can help make a diagnosis of asthma. 2
  • Asthma and COPD. This is when you have both. Your airflow limitation is reversible. But, your FEV1 remains under 80% despite treatment.

You Cant Maintain Your Normal Exercise Routine

You may notice that youre unable to keep up with any type of physical activity if your severe asthma symptoms are getting worse.

Talk to your doctor if you find yourself coughing or having to use your inhaler more often at the gym or during activities like jogging or playing sports. If your chest tightens more often during everyday physical activities like climbing the stairs or walking around the block, you may need to change your medications to get your symptoms under control.

Is Your Asthma Under Control What You Need To Know

Do you live with asthma? Chances are, either you do or know someone who does. More importantly, no one should have to struggle to breathe.

This article is sponsored by the American Lung Association. All opinions are my own.#sponsored

Below, youll find essential information as well as an assessment to help understand if your condition is under control.

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Signs You Actually Have Severe Asthma

Breathing is just one of those things you take for granted until it feels like every inhale or exhale is a struggle. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma have to deal with breathing issues way more often than anyone should, and it can be completely terrifying.

Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways that extend from your nose and mouth to your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When youre exposed to triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, exercise, and respiratory infections, these airways can narrow, restricting your airflow. This can then make the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, making it even harder to breathe, and cause your airways to produce more mucus than normal, further compounding the problem. All together, this can lead to asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing , and chest tightness or pain, according to the NHLBI.

Like most health conditions, asthma severity runs along a spectrum, Emily Pennington, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. Some people have cases where they experience minor symptoms here and there . Others can have asthma that is basically an ever-present problem and might result in scary asthma attacks, which is when symptoms ramp up in severity and can even become life-threatening.


Your Symptoms Arent Actually Caused By Asthma


Its common to think youre having an asthma flare, but in reality, the symptoms are not due to asthma, according to;Otsu.

A lot of patients have symptoms of chest tightness and wheezing, and think that these symptoms must be an asthma flare, Otsu;says. But its possible for these symptoms to be caused by another respiratory or throat ailment, she says, such as vocal cord dysfunction.

Especially when someone is diagnosed later in life, Otsu notes, a patient might never see an allergist or pulmonologist for the right kind of testing, and simply be diagnosed with asthma by a primary care doctor based on symptoms.

In these cases, if its not actually asthma, treating with a daily inhaler wont be effective. And sometimes, more medication gets added onto their original medication because their asthma must be severe, says Otsu.

If youre doubtful about your asthma diagnosis, ask to be referred to an allergist or pulmonologist, who can help you pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.

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What We Know About Asthma And Covid

Asthma is a pre-existing lung condition affecting 1 in 13 people in the U.S. It can cause wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. Asthma can be controlled by taking medications and avoiding triggers.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The virus affects cells in the airways, from the nose and throat down to the deepest parts of the lungs. In the nose and throat it might cause symptoms of a cold. In the upper airways, it might cause some breathlessness and cough. When the coronavirus lodges itself deep in the lungs, this is when things can start to get serious. Here, the coronavirus commonly causes a double lung infection, or bilateral pneumonia.;

Interestingly, research so far does not suggest any link between having asthma and getting a more severe COVID-19 illness, or between asthma and coronavirus deaths.;

Whether this is because the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesnt affect people with asthma in the same way as other respiratory viruses, or because there simply isnt enough data yet, remains to be seen.;

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Association Of Control With Clinically Important Parameters

Asthma has an important impact in everyday life, not only because the patients may be significantly burdened by the symptoms of the disease but also because it leads to limitations in physical activities, sleep disturbance and negative effects in their work and social life, leading to anxiety and depression .

Asthma control significantly affects the use of healthcare resources and the patients’ quality of life, as assessed with the use of standardised health-related quality of life questionnaires. Managing asthma effectively and achieving asthma control results in improvements in HRQoL and there is evidence that better asthma control is reflected in better HRQoL . Moreover, asthma control deterioration is accompanied by deterioration of HRQoL . Poor asthma control is also related to symptoms of depression, especially in patients with severe asthma, and it is believed that the presence of depression in these patients might have a negative impact on treatment adherence and HRQoL, leading to an ongoing vicious circle .

Read Also: How To Help Someone Having An Asthma Attack

Empower Yourself With An Asthma Assessment

All in all, its important to know if your asthma is under control. Head on over to the My Asthma Control Assessment where you check to make sure and determine your overall asthma control.

However, The Lung Association wants you to feel empowered about your asthma and provides excellent information to help you along with your wellness plan.

In summary, its so important to understand your condition and how to best manage it so you can live a full and productive life.

In part, this means developing a good relationship with your doctor, asking the right questions, and empowering yourself with information can and does make a huge difference.

As someone who lives with asthma, I will always continue to research my best options for treating my condition, so I can continue to live a full and productive life! I hope you do too!;

And as always, thanks so much for stopping by! If you like this article, Is Your Asthma Under Control? What You Need To Know, subscribe via email below and never miss a post again!

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Treatment Options For Asthma

Is Your Asthma Under Control?

Many types of asthma treatments can be incorporated into your management plan. The goal of treatment is to use as few treatments as possible so you can live with minimal symptoms.

A good treatment plan will keep your symptoms in check, decrease the chance of your asthma symptoms worsening, and minimize the side effects of asthma medications.

One of the most significant ways to treat asthma is to avoid triggers that cause it. Asthma triggers are wide-ranging and can include:

  • allergens like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold
  • irritants like smoke, chemicals, and pollution
  • illnesses
  • stress
  • exercise

Your doctor may consider several different medications for your asthma depending on your symptoms and their severity.

Asthma medications include:

  • controller inhalers for daily maintenance, some of which include corticosteroids or other medications
  • combination inhalers for daily maintenance, which may contain a corticosteroid and a long-acting beta agonist
  • rescue inhalers that contain medicines like short-acting beta agonists such as albuterol
  • oral medications like leukotriene modifiers or steroids
  • intravenous steroids for acute or severe asthma
  • injections or infusions containing biologics

Its important to educate yourself about your treatment plan. Follow it closely to minimize symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Also Check: Pediatric Spirometry Normal Values

Diagnosis Of Asthma In Children

Diagnosing asthma;in children younger than;5;years can be difficult because;children cough or wheeze;for many different reasons.;Take your child to the doctor if:;

  • the wheezing happens more than once with or without an illness;
  • constant coughing or bouts of coughing become worse at night;
  • you are concerned about any breathing problems in your child.;

What Is An Asthma Attack

An asthma attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. The attack happens in your bodys airways, which are the paths that carry air to your lungs. As the air moves through your lungs, the airways become smaller, like the branches of a tree are smaller than the tree trunk. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in your lungs swell and the airways shrink. Less air gets in and out of your lungs, and mucous that your body makes clogs up the airways.

You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an asthma attack, staying away from things that cause an attack, and following your doctors advice. When you control your asthma:

  • you wont have symptoms such as wheezing or coughing,
  • youll sleep better,
  • you wont miss work or school,
  • you can take part in all physical activities, and
  • you wont have to go to the hospital.

Also Check: How To Help Asthma Without Inhaler

Asthma Treatment: 3 Steps To Better Asthma Control

Follow this three-step approach to keep asthma symptoms under control and prevent asthma attacks.

Effective asthma treatment requires routinely tracking symptoms and measuring how well your lungs are working. Taking an active role in managing your asthma treatment will help you maintain better long-term asthma control, prevent asthma attacks and avoid long-term problems.

Create a written asthma action plan with your doctor. This written plan will serve as an asthma treatment guide tailored to your specific needs. It will help you follow these three important steps and keep a good record of your asthma treatment:

Side Effects Of Asthma Medication

5 Possible Reasons Your Asthma Is Not Under Control ...

If you are worried about possible side effects from asthma medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop or reduce doses of medication for your child without speaking with your doctor.;Common side effects from inhaled asthma medication:;


  • sore mouth and throat;
  • fungal throat infections.;

Using a spacer reduces the risk of these side effects. as does rinsing the mouth with water after using an inhaler.;


  • fast;heart beat.;

Read Also: How Do You Control Asthma Without An Inhaler

Vaping And Lung Damage

  • Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
  • Vaping can cause severe lung damage. It can become permanent.
  • Vaping can even cause death .
  • Vaping tobacco also causes nicotine addiction.
  • For these reasons, the legal age to purchase vaping products is 21 in the US.
  • Encourage your teen to not start vaping or to give it up.
  • Warning: home-made or street-purchased vaping solutions are the most dangerous.

What To Do If Your Asthma Is Poorly Controlled

If your asthma is poorly controlled you need to speak with your healthcare provider. Uncontrolled asthma is very serious and could lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. Its vital that you take your asthma seriously and recognize when your symptoms arent properly controlled. Over time, poorly controlled asthma can cause permanent damage to your airways that cannot be reversed. This is called airway remodeling. It is important to have proper treatment for your asthma to avoid this permanent damage.

If your asthma is not well controlled, talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. You can gain control of your asthma by:

  • Taking your controller medication as prescribed to minimize symptoms and reduce inflammation in the airways
  • Avoiding your personal asthma triggers as much as possible
  • Carrying your reliever medication with you at all times;
  • Working with your healthcare provider to create an Asthma Action Plan and following it
  • Discussing your asthma with your healthcare provider on a regular basis so that your asthma never becomes uncontrolled and your treatments can be adjusted if necessary.

Read Also: What Can Help Asthma Without An Inhaler

What You Need To Know About Your Childs Asthma

There are many things to think about and plan for when your child has asthma. It is important to learn as much as you can about the condition. Your doctor and pharmacist are there to help you. Talk to them about any concerns you may have about your childs asthma.;To manage your childs asthma effectively, it is important to know:;

  • the pattern of their asthma;
  • their;asthma medications what they do and how to help your child take them properly;
  • what to do if they have an asthma attack know and follow;asthma first aid.;

Make sure you have an updated written;asthma;action;plan and understand how to use it.;

Why Do Some People Have Difficult To Control Asthma

Is your asthma under control? 7 Ways to know!

There are lots of different reasons why you might have asthma thats difficult to control.

These include:

  • Having other long-term conditions that make it harder to manage your asthma, for example a heart condition or diabetes
  • Being a smoker, which makes asthma symptoms worse and stops asthma medicines working as well
  • Finding it hard to get into a good routine of taking your inhalers and other asthma medicines regularly
  • Not using a good inhaler technique. This means youre not getting the right dose at the right time to help get your asthma symptoms under control.

If youre having symptoms dont ignore them. Theyre a sign that your asthma is not well controlled and that youre at risk of an asthma attack, so its important to do something about them. Make an appointment with your GP or asthma nurse;to get your asthma reviewed.

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Using A Peak Flow Meter

Some healthcare providers like to recommend a peak flow meter to anyone with a new diagnosis of asthma. It can be especially helpful in children. A peak flow meter may help them recognize the signs and symptoms of their asthma getting worse.

What Is a Peak Flow Meter?

A peak flow meter is a portable, inexpensive, hand-held device used to measure how air flows from your lungs in one “fast blast.” In other words, the meter measures your ability to push air out of your lungs.

Who Should Use a Peak Flow Meter?

Patients age 5 years and older are usually able to use a peak flow meter to help manage their asthma. Not all healthcare providers recommend peak flow meters to help children and adults manage their asthma. Many healthcare providers believe a peak flow meter may be of most help for people with moderate and severe asthma. If your asthma is mild or you do not use daily medication, a peak flow meter may not be useful for your asthma management. A peak flow meter is a helpful tool for school health staff to monitor a child’s asthma during the school day.

Why Should I Measure My Flow Rate?

Peak flow meter measurements can help your healthcare provider make decisions about your treatment and adjust your medicines, and the measurements also can alert you when your asthma symptoms are worsening.

Talking To Your Doctor

You should meet regularly with your doctor if you have asthma. During your appointment, youll get to discuss your symptoms and determine whether your treatment plan is effective. Share the records you keep of your symptoms with your doctor so they can get a clear idea of how your management plan is working.

Your doctor may recommend a few in-office tests to measure your airways. One of these is called a spirometry test. This test measures the amount of air your lungs can let out and how fast the air is let out after a deep breath.

Adjusting your treatment plan doesnt always mean more interventions. Well-controlled asthma may be a sign that you can reduce the medications in your treatment plan. You may also find that your plan needs seasonal adjustments depending on how you react to certain triggers.

Read Also: Can You Have Asthma In The Army

The Temperature And Air Quality In The Place You’re Exercising

Exercise is one trigger of asthma. If you combine the trigger of exercise with these other triggers from the environment around you, you’re more likely to get asthma symptoms:

  • cold air
  • low humidity; therefore exercising in cold, dry air outside during the winter can be hazardous
  • pollution in the air
  • inhaled allergens: grass, pollen, ragweed, etc.
  • irritants such as strong fumes from art supplies, cosmetics and smoke
  • car and truck exhaust and pollutants from factories, especially sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone
  • respiratory infections – a recent cold may cause a person to have more difficulty than normal with exercise
  • fatigue
  • emotional stress


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