According to Dr. Louis-Philippe Boulet, Professor of Medicine at Laval University, the secret to managing your asthma is "education first." People who educate themselves will have better asthma control and fewer asthma-related problems. Educating yourself means learning about:
- the condition of asthma
- what triggers your asthma and how you can prevent it
- what your asthma medications are for
- how to use your asthma medication
- how to tell whether your asthma is under control
- what to do if your asthma is not under control
Dr. Boulet refers his patients to an asthma education centre as part of their asthma therapy. At the asthma education centre, they learn how to assess their asthma control, how to use their medication, and how to use their action plan.
Even if there isn't an asthma education centre near you, you can still remain well-informed by working with your doctor. Here is a quick checklist to make sure you're staying educated about your asthma:
- Do you understand what your asthma medications are for and how to use them?
- Do you know how much your asthma treatment will improve your asthma?
- Are you confident that you are using your inhaler properly so that you get the maximum benefit from your medication?
- Are you using less medication than recommended by your doctor because of concerns about side effects or worries that the medication will stop working?
- Do you have an asthma action plan? When was the last time it was updated?
- Do you know how to tell if your asthma is under control?
- Do you know what to do if your asthma gets worse? (This includes knowing how to adjust your medication doses during times when your symptoms get worse.)
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, talk to your doctor for an update. Your doctor can help you learn about your treatment options, choose a treatment that fits your needs and preferences, and maintain good asthma control.
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