Asthma is a disease that is with you all the time. Like many adults with asthma, you may have days when you feel fine, with few if any symptoms. Or you may have trouble controlling your asthma and experience asthma attacks often. These may be characterized by wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
If you have been diagnosed with asthma, it is important to monitor the disease and get ongoing care. Regular doctor visits - at least twice a year or as directed by your doctor - can help you avoid asthma flare-ups. And any time that your symptoms are not being well controlled, you should see your doctor.
Your doctor can help with managing your asthma so you can:
- Continue your normal activities and sleep through the night
- Prevent chronic symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing
- Maintain good lung function
- Lessen your need for your quick-relief medicines
- Prevent attacks that may send you to the emergency room or hospital
Your asthma checkup
In the beginning of your asthma treatment, your doctor may want to see you about every two to six weeks. Once your asthma is under control, the visits may decrease from once a month to twice a year. The frequency of your visits will depend on a number of factors, such as changes in your medications and how controlled your condition is.
Keep in mind that your asthma can change over time. Regular doctor visits will help ensure that you make adjustments in your treatment if necessary.
In the doctor's office, you will likely be asked about:
- Your daily activities
- Whether you've had symptoms or an asthma attack since your last visit
- Whether your symptoms or peak flow meter readings have changed
- Whether you have concerns or problems with your medications
- How closely you are following your asthma action plan.
Your doctor will also likely review your peak flow readings if you've been told to track them. He or she will also probably review how your asthma action plan is working for monitoring and managing your symptoms.
Tell your doctor:
- If your symptoms are getting worse
- What you believe triggers your asthma
- If you need help learning to take your medicines correctly - the right way to use your inhaler, for example
- If the drugs are causing unpleasant side effects
- If exercise makes your asthma worse
- If you have other conditions that can make asthma harder to manage, such as stress, runny nose, sinus infections, sleep apnea or reflux disease
Your discussion may prompt the doctor to review your asthma action plan. He or she may change which medications you take or alter the dosage. You may be able to take less medicine if your asthma is well controlled. And your doctor can help you stay active despite the asthma.
You and your doctor can manage your asthma effectively. To feel your best, it's important that you remain actively involved in your asthma treatment. Seeing your health care provider on a regular basis can help ensure you stay as healthy as possible.
Created on 10/22/2009
Updated on 09/06/2013
- American Lung Association. Understand your medication.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How is asthma treated and controlled?
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma.