Asthma Care

The majority of people with asthma could live symptom-free if their asthma was managed well. Poor asthma control is a significant problem; however many people living with asthma believe their asthma is under control, but what does good asthma control really mean?                                                                                                                                                               

Good asthma control means having all of the following:

 

   No night-time asthma symptoms

   No asthma symptoms on waking

   No need for reliever medication e.g. blue inhaler (Salbutamol / Ventolin)

   No restriction of day-to-day activities

   No days off school or work due to asthma

   No asthma attacks or flare-ups

Is your asthma under control?

Every 10 seconds someone in the UK is having a potentially life threatening asthma attack. Asthma attacks kill 3 people each day and the UK has amongst the highest death rates from asthma in Europe. Most tragically many of these deaths could be prevented1.

For good asthma control, it is important that you:  

  • understand what triggers your asthma (this can be different for everyone) 
  • try to avoid or reduce your exposure to these triggers 
  • attend your annual review and work together with your asthma nurse / doctor to manage your asthma 
  • use your medications as instructed by your nurse / doctor, even when you feel well 
  • make sure you are using your inhaler (puffer) correctly.  Please remember to bring all your inhalers with you to each asthma review for a review of your inhaler technique. (Trials have shown that people using inhalers fall into bad habits over time and by improving technique, higher dose medicines may be avoided to help control your asthma)

What is a written asthma action plan?

A written asthma action plan is a set of instructions that helps you recognise worsening asthma and tells you what to do in response. Different action plans suit different people, but all plans should have the same key information.

Your personalised asthma action plan should include: 

  • a list of your usual asthma medicines, including doses
  • instructions on what to do when your asthma is getting worse (including when to take extra doses or extra medicines, and when to contact a doctor or go to the emergency department)
  • what to do in an asthma emergency
  • the name of the nurse / doctor or other health professional who prepared the plan with you
  • the date.

Remember to regularly review your asthma action plan with your nurse / doctor, as your level of asthma severity or control may change over time.

Don't let yourself get used to poor asthma control. 

Regularly waking from asthma symptoms or using your reliever medication more than 2–3 times a week (except before exercise) should not be a ‘normal’ part of having asthma. Anyone who is picking up more than 12 short-acting reliever inhaler (usually blue) prescriptions in one year (or using their reliever inhaler more than three times a week) needs to talk to their asthma nurse or GP. If you’re using this much reliever inhaler your asthma is not well controlled. This puts you at a higher risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.  

Milton Keynes CCG is working with our local clinicians to bring awareness of asthma to the general public and to those who are living with or caring for others living with asthma and feel it is important to ensure understanding of what asthma is; the triggers which may cause an attack and provide support and strategies which can empower people to live as symptom-free life as possible, improving their quality of life and achieving their goals.  For further information or advice please speak to your nurse / doctor or check out AsthmaUK or NHS Choices websites.

  1. http://www.asthma.org.uk/