Assessing Asthma Control

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Keeping track of your asthma symptoms is an important part of keeping it controlled. Knowing how much medication you take, what type, and when, is based on your symptoms. This is usually determined by your doctor after he/she has consulted with you.


The following are tools to help assess and monitor disease control:

Observing symptoms - there are four symptoms that you should monitor to determine whether your asthma is under control:

  • Daytime Symptoms - how often do you have asthma symptoms during the day, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath?
  • Nighttime Symptoms - do you wake up at night with asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath?
  • Quick-Relief Inhaler Use - how often do you use your short-acting inhaler to relieve asthma symptoms?
  • Performing Activities of Daily Living - do you have difficulty performing normal activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, daily chores or playing with the kids?

Or you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have asthma symptoms or use your quick-relief inhaler more than two times per week?
  • Do you wake up at night with symptoms more than two times per month?
  • Do you refill your quick-relief inhaler more than two times per year?

If you answer "yes" to one or more questions, your asthma may not be well controlled.

To help monitor your symptoms, keep a journal or a diary. A symptoms journal or diary can be an important communication tool to share with your doctor in your next consultation. It can also help you determine whether your asthma is getting worse or better. To help make tracking easier, incorporate it into your daily life such as making notes on your smartphone - whatever works best for your needs.

Using a peak flow meter (a device used to measure how quickly air flows from your lungs in one breath) is a good tool your doctor can use to monitor whether your asthma is improving. It can be especially helpful when treating children.

You can live a full and active life not limited by your condition. 


Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

Reference: Wu TD, Brigham EP, McCormack MC. Asthma in the Primary Care Setting. Med Clin North Am. 2019 May;103(3):435-452

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