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Your Asthma Self-Management Plan


Lt Col Reynolds
One important element of your asthma treatment is the development of a self-management plan. You can work with your provider to develop a daily asthma management strategy that you're both satisfied with. Dr. Flemings, can you tell us more about creating a self-management plan?

Dr. Flemings
I sure can, Dr. Reynolds. The first step is to write a detailed, daily plan for taking your maintenance medications. Also, develop a plan to regularly monitor your breathing. Although you may recognize your own signs of an impending attack, such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath, for some individuals, lung function may decrease before you actually notice any signs or symptoms. In this situation, it may be helpful to check your breathing regularly with your peak flow meter. Talk with your provider to see if a peak flow meter is right for you.

Another important part of your self-management plan will address treating your attacks early. If you act quickly, you're less likely to have a severe attack. You also won't need as much medication to control your symptoms. When your peak flow measurements decrease and alert you to an impending attack, take your medication as instructed and immediately stop any activity that may have triggered the attack. If your symptoms don't improve, get medical attention as directed in your action plan.

After putting together your complete and detailed action plan, be sure to follow it. Asthma is an ongoing condition that needs regular monitoring and treatment. Taking an active role in your own treatment will give you more control of your life.