Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Asthma Controlling Guide

peak flow
Peak flow meter

Asthma controlling and management are the secret to living comfortably with the disease. If you understand how to identify early symptoms you can expect reliable asthma attack relief and preventing asthma.

A essential device you must have for asthma control is a “peak flow meter”.

It is a hand-held device that measures the rate at which you can discharge air from your lungs. 

This is called your peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR). When you measure your peak flow regularly you will be able to identify an oncoming asthma attack.

To properly use a peak flow meter, you first calculate your best peak flow of discharged air. You do this by taking a deep breath and blowing as hard as possible into the meter’s mouthpiece. 

Give yourself this test over a period of two week when you are breathing with no sign of asthma. Now you will have your personal best peak flow reading.

In the future, when you suspect an asthma attack may be imminent, you can quickly take a meter reading and see of you have a below average reading. If so, you can begin medication for asthma attack relief.

You should be prepared to use your medicines when you:

– have a peak flow reading less than 50% of your personal best

– feel tightness in your chest

– experience prolonged coughing or wheezing

– experience shortness of breath

You doctor can prescribe asthma medicines that prevent attacks and those that treat attacks. These are called “controller medicines” and “rescue medicines”. You doctor will explain when and when not to use each of those for asthma control

As you would expect, controller medicines work to reduce swelling in your airways. Medicines with such brand names as Azmacort, AeroBic, Flovent, Intal and Tilade fall into the controller category.

Singulair, Accolate and Zyflo are prescribed for some patients. They are designed to prevent asthma attacks.

Controller medicines take hours or days to begin having an effect on your breathing passages and must be taken regularly even if you have no symptoms of an oncoming attack. You could consider controllers everyday asthma medicine.

When you are experiencing an asthma attack you need the muscles surround your breathing passages to relax and allow air to pass. You need quick relief and that is exactly what is provided by the medicines in the rescue group.

Brethine, Proventil, Tornalate are examples of inhaled bronchodilators. They are rescue medicines and can be used on a regular basis for quick relief.

If these medicines fail to provide relief emergency treatment of severe asthma attack may be required.

The above are a guide to asthma control, learn to live comfortably with asthma.