Manage your asthma with these easy steps

GEHA | August 11, 2020

asthma
While there is no cure for asthma, the condition is manageable – if it is handled properly and diligently.

Nearly 25 million Americans have asthma, a condition in which the airways in the lungs are swollen or inflamed. Asthma makes it harder to move air in and out of the lungs. It also makes them sensitive to commonly found elements in the air.

While there is no cure for asthma, the condition is manageable – but only if it is handled properly and diligently.

Unfortunately, fewer than half of families with a member who has asthma have completed prescribed environmental control measures that can reduce exposure to asthmatic triggers. For example, more than 55% of people with asthma still use nicotine.

It is important that asthma patients take medications as prescribed. For optimal control, do not skip doses as this will reduce symptoms, lower health care expenditures and improve quality of life when living with asthma.

Here are some key tips to keep in mind.

  • Take your asthma medication regularly and as prescribed. Don’t skip doses and faithfully refill your medication when it runs low. It may help to set a reminder on your phone or put a sign in a place you will see it each day as a prompt to take your medication.
  • Keep your home environment clean of asthmatic triggers. This can include mold, dust mites and pet fur.
  • Quit smoking and/or limit your exposure to smokers. This includes vaping. Smoking aggravates the airways. It makes them swell, narrowing the passage, and fills them with mucus. These are the same results of an asthma flare-up. Being around second-hand smoke can produce the same reaction.
  • Talk to your doctor. Admitting you haven’t been faithful in executing your asthma management plan doesn’t mean you’ve been inadequate patient and you certainly won’t get in trouble. Your doctor wants to help you improve your health and will be glad to discuss different options and methods with you. If you don’t have a regular doctor, GEHA is happy to help you find a provider near you.

Sources:
“The burden of nonadherence among adults with asthma: a role for shared decision-making,” doi.org. Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 22 November, 2016.

“Improving patient adherence with asthma self-management practices: What works?” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 9 August, 2012.

“Most recent national asthma data.” Cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 March, 2020.

“Failure to refill essential prescription medications for asthma among pediatric Medicaid beneficiaries with persistent asthma.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Patient Preference and Adherence, 9 January, 2003.

“Reduce your exposre to asthma triggers.” Cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 June, 2020.

“Smoking and asthma.” Kidshealth.org, TeensHealth from Nemours, June 2017.