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Asthma, Ambulatory Care

Asthma

is a lung disease that makes breathing difficult. Chronic inflammation and reactions to triggers narrow the airways in your lungs. Asthma can become life-threatening if it is not managed.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Blue or gray lips or nails
  • Skin around your neck and ribs pulls in with each breath
  • Shortness of breath, even after you take your short-term medicine as directed
  • Peak flow numbers in the red zone of your asthma action plan

Treatment for asthma

will depend on how severe it is. Medicine may decrease inflammation, open airways, and make it easier to breathe. Medicines may be inhaled, taken as a pill, or injected. Short-term medicines relieve your symptoms quickly. Long-term medicines are used to prevent future attacks. You may also need medicine to help control your allergies.

Manage and prevent future asthma attacks:

  • Follow your asthma action plan. This is a written plan that you and your healthcare provider create. It explains which medicine you need and when to change doses if necessary. It also explains how you can monitor symptoms and use a peak flow meter. The meter measures how well your lungs are working.
  • Manage other health conditions , such as allergies, acid reflux, and sleep apnea.
  • Identify and avoid triggers. These may include pets, dust mites, mold, and cockroaches.
  • Do not smoke and avoid others who smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask your healthcare provider if you need help quitting.
  • Ask about a flu vaccine. The flu can make your asthma worse. You may need a yearly flu shot.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to make sure your medicine is working and your symptoms are controlled. You may be referred to an asthma or allergy specialist. You may be asked to keep a record of your peak flow values and bring it with you to your appointments. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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